market, payments union, and regional investment bank. In January 1977, a tariff reduction agreement was signed with Singapore, and in February, association-wide preferential trading arrangements were signed. By the time of the August announcement to drop the claim, a feasibility study on producing superphosphates had been completed, the Philippines' initial allocation in ASEAN's industrial projects. It seemed that developmental assistance from Australia, New Zealand, and Japan would be forthcoming via the association. To Marcos, ASEAN offered the potential for economic development independent of US control.
From the time of the watershed 1976 Bali Summit and the 1977 Kuala Lumpur Summit, where Marcos formally renounced Philippine intentions to pursue the Sabah claim, ASEAN's progress, achieved in small and gradual steps, has continued. Taylor ( 1984: 78) contends that most progress has been achieved "within the member-states collective zone of indifference." Although the areas of association accomplishment may be better characterized as increasing in scope rather than depth, no one questions ASEAN's usefulness as a mechanism for resolving differences among its members, or as a coalition for dealing with the outside world on both security and economic issues. Brunei joined the original five members of the association shortly after it achieved full independence in late 1983.
The benefits of ASEAN are so widely acknowledged that it is unlikely that regime change within a member state will affect the members' commitment to ASEAN. Continued Filipino participation in ASEAN was not a subject of debate when Corazon Aquino assumed office in the February 1986 People's Revolution. ASEAN is without question a political success; it remains to be seen if this political achievement can provide impetus for further economic cooperation to facilitate development in the resource-rich economies. This latter objective is, of course, the primary stated purpose of ASEAN.