ASEAN to Admit Timor-Leste as 11th Member

ASEAN leaders have agreed in principle to allow Timor-Leste - Asia’s youngest nation - to become the regional bloc’s 11th member
Khmer traditional dancers perform at opening of 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits at Sokha Hotel, November 11, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Khmer traditional dancers perform at opening of 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits at Sokha Hotel, November 11, 2022. Kiripost/Siv Channa

ASEAN leaders have agreed in principle to welcome Timor-Leste as ASEAN's 11th member.

According to the ASEAN Leaders' statement issued on November 11, the leaders have agreed in principle to admit Timor-Leste to be the 11th member of ASEAN.

This followed consideration of the outcome of a fact-finding mission to Timor-Leste, conducted by the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

Timor-Leste will also be granted observer status and allowed to participate in all ASEAN meetings, including at summit plenaries.

The ASEAN Leaders also agreed to formalize an objective criteria-based roadmap for Timor-Leste's full membership to develop the roadmap and report to the 42nd ASEAN Summit for implementation.

“All ASEAN member states and external partners must fully support Timor-Leste in meeting the milestones by providing capacity-building assistance and any other necessary and relevant support for its full membership in ASEAN,” it said.

Timor-Leste gained independence in 2002 following a UN-sponsored referendum in 1999, becoming the youngest country in Asia.

In 2011, it officially applied for ASEAN membership but Singapore and Laos objected on the grounds that Timor is not yet developed enough to join.