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23rd Asean Summit kicks off in Brunei
23rd Asean Summit kicks off in Brunei PDF Print E-mail
Written by Soukkaseum CHANTHAPANYA (ຂ່າວຈາກໜັງສືພິມ ວຽງຈັນທາມສ໌)   
Thursday, 10 October 2013 09:22

Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong ( second right ) and other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations pose for a group photo during the Asean Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, yesterday. -- Photo AP

 

The 23rd Asean Summit kicked off in Brunei Darussalam on Wednesday, bringing together the leaders of the 10 member countries to discuss progress made in realising the Asean Community by 2015.
Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong led a high-level Lao delegation to the summit which carries the theme “Our People, Our Future Together”.

Asean leaders will discuss ways to strengthen their cooperation after 2015 before touching on issues related to the group's cooperation with dialogue partners.

 


The talks aim to ensure that Asean accomplishes its goal of establishing the Asean Community in 2015 and further building peace and stability, and bringing prosperity to the region and the world.


A Xinhua report quoted Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah as saying in his opening remarks that the outlook for the Asean region remains promising, while acknowledging that Asean nations still face challenges in implementing their community roadmap.


“Asean countries should ensure the region's financial stability as well as be an effective and competitive destination for trade and investment,” he said.


Asean has only two more years to build its community but has been struggling to align key infrastructure and trade and policy frameworks to meet the deadline.


The Sultan called for Asean countries to work together in areas such as trade facilitation and logistics to promote a favourable business environment.


He noted that there has been some progress and, overall, Asean countries have to continue to solidify their political will in doing what they can to realise their community goal by 2015.


On the same day, Mr Thongsing attended the 16th Asean-Japan Summit, 16th Asean-Republic of Korea Summit, the 16th Asean-China Summit and 1st Asean-US Summit, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Today, the Lao prime minister will attend other summits including the 11th Asean-India Summit, Asean+3 (China, Japan and Republic of Korea) Summit, and the 8th East Asia Summit.


The Xinhua report quoted the Sultan as saying that Asean aims to double the bloc's combined GDP to US$4.4 trillion and reduce the number of people living in poverty to 9.3 percent by 2030. Asean governments would also improve their working procedures through a review of their institutions and external relations.


Asean was founded in 1967, and today has the potential to become a single market of about 600 million people. Laos became a member of the regional grouping in 1997, aiming to bolster international cooperation.


The 10 nations are jointly building the Asean Community comprising three pillars, namely the Asean Political-Security Community, the Asean Economic Community, and the Asean Socio-Cultural Community.


The summit will see the handover of the Asean chairmanship to Myanmar, who will assume leadership of the regional bloc for the first time on January 1, 2014.


Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 09:27