ASEAN enjoys half century of dynamic, comprehensive development (Source: asean.org)
Hanoi (VNA) – After 50 years of development, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been internationally recognised as a comprehensive regional cooperative organisation and a cohesive and dynamic political-economic entity that contributes to global connectivity.

The association has an important role and position in the Southeast Asian and Asian-Pacific regions with profound political, economic, cultural and social influences. 

A spirit of solidarity, consensus and mutual support and respect, along with harmonious combination of national and community interests have helped enhance the association’s position.

Over the past half century, ASEAN has proved itself a leading factor in ensuring a peaceful environment, security and cooperation for regional development, illustrated through the bloc’s efforts to cooperate in politics and security and build codes of conduct to increase mutual understanding and prevent conflicts in the region.

ASEAN has also established collaboration with important partners in the world, while initiating and playing a key role in several regional cooperation frameworks, especially the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) – the only mechanism for dialogues and cooperation in political and security matters in Asia-Pacific.

The association has created favourable conditions for important partners outside Southeast Asia to contribute to the settlement of common security challenges, helping reinforce peace and security in the region.
 

More countries around the world have shown interest in Southeast Asia. The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation initiated by ASEAN in 1976 has until now attracted 35 external nations, which serves as a foundation for the bloc and other countries to promote peace and stability in the region.

ASEAN also plays a key role in promoting cooperation and connectivity in East Asia, especially in economics and trade, through initiating and playing the key role in suitable cooperative mechanisms such as ASEAN plus and East Asia Summit (EAS).

In addition, ASEAN was among the founders as well as assumed an important role in inter-regional cooperation mechanisms such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and comprehensive economic agreement between ASEAN and big partners in Northeast Asia and beyond.

In the context of slow global economic recovery, the association’s economy is forecast to maintain its current average economic growth of 5 percent per year in the next decade, nearly double the world’s average, making it one of the driving force for the global economy.

With total gross domestic product growth of 2.43 trillion USD in 2015, ASEAN rose to become the sixth largest economy in the world and is likely to rank fourth by 2025. 

The formation of the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015 with three pillars: politics-security, economics and culture-society, has also enhanced the bloc’s development.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh has affirmed that in the post-2015 period, ASEAN will be a people-centred and rule-based community that looks toward sustainable development and can make use of new opportunities and cope with new challenges.

In the next 10 years, the ASEAN community will play a greater role in regional and international issues, he said, adding that the bloc has implemented measures to build and reinforce the community across the three pillars while carrying out an overall plan for ASEAN connectivity through 2025 as well as other action plans on ASEAN integration.

At present, ASEAN faces both internal and external challenges, including the complicated situation in the East Sea and the expansion of terrorism and extremism, particularly threats by the self-claimed Islamic State.

In addition to diversifying external relations, ASEAN is strengthening cooperation in the fields of politics, security, economics and culture, as well as building trust to make active contributions to peace, security and stability in the region and around the world, while reinforcing and increasing its position as a cohesive, dynamic and successful cooperative organisation.

Established in 1967, the 10-member ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA