The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN , ) is a political and economic organisation of ten Southeast Asian countries, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully. ASEAN covers a land area of 4.4 million km², 3% of the total land area of earth. The territorial waters of ASEAN member-states is about three times larger than its land counterpart. It has a population of approximately 617 million people, or 8.8% of the world’s population. In 2012, its combined nominal GDP had grown to more than US$2.3 trillion. If ASEAN were a single entity, it would rank as the seventh largest economy in the world, behind the US, China, Japan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. .