With a population of over 250 million and a GNP which exceeded $120 billion in 1979, ASEAN has the potential of becoming an important economic and political entity in world affairs. In this statement prepared for the hearings on U.S. policy in Southeast Asia, held July 22, 1981, by the Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the author discusses demographic trends in ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand), economic problems and successes, political interests, labor supply and the creation of jobs, trade prospects, and national security problems. The author concludes, "If we listen to what they tell us and respond accordingly, the 250 million people of the ASEAN region will be able to make in the coming decades increasingly valuable contributions to global peace and prosperity."
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