​ASEAN leaders (Source: VNA)
Vientiane (VNA) – Leaders of ASEAN countries and the bloc’s partners participated in the closing ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and related meetings in Vientiane on September 8 afternoon.

In three days of gathering, ASEAN leaders discussed the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and renewed their commitments to effectively carrying out the vision to promote the ASEAN Community.

They approved the third phase of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan and the Master Plan on 2025 ASEAN Connectivity. They also signed the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region and other important documents to realise eight priorities of the ASEAN Chair 2016 and implement the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

In the President’s Declaration on the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits, the ASEAN leaders emphasised the importance of maintaining peace, stability, maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom in the region, peacefully addressing disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and soon forming a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

They also upheld the maintenance of unity and the central role of ASEAN in relations with its partners, and in dealing with challenges and forming a law-based regional architecture.

The declaration also welcomed a joint statement between ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the East Sea and a set of guidelines on the operation of hotlines between senior foreign ministry officials to address emergencies at sea.

However, the leaders expressed deep concerns over recent and current happenings, noting down concerns of some leaders pertaining to the land reclamation and more actions that erode trust, fuel tensions and harm peace, security and stability in the region.

They reaffirmed the importance of strengthening trust, exercising self-restraint and avoiding actions that could complicate the situation, and pursuing the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law.

At the meetings with dialogue partners, the leaders of ASEAN and its partners of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, the US and the United Nations agreed to intensify cooperation in all fields, particularly in trade, investment, connectivity and tourism.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said that the summits were successful.

He said 2016 is just the first year to carry out the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

The approval of numerous documents to turn the vision into reality for a dynamic ASEAN community at the 28th and 29th Summits is important, but the next steps are significant to turning these documents into specific actions, he stressed.

The Lao PM then handed over the ASEAN Chair 2017 to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.-VNA