ASEAN telecommunications and information technology ministers shake hands at the meeting (Photo: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) - The 15th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers’ Meeting (TELEMIN) kicked off in the central city of Da Nang on November 26.

In his opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the event is of great significance as it takes place immediately after the 27th ASEAN Summit, which officially announced the formation of the ASEAN Community and adopted the ASEAN Vision 2025.

He reviewed comprehensive achievements made by Vietnam during its renewal process over the last three decades, especially in information technology (IT), which contributes to creating great changes in the country’s socio-economic development.

He affirmed that Vietnam continues to define IT as a crucial impetus for promoting its development, modernisation and international integration, and for improving national competitiveness as well.

The Deputy PM suggested participants discuss cooperation priorities in the coming time, focusing on initiatives to narrow digital gap among ASEAN member nations and between rural and urban areas in order to ensure that all people have opportunity to use services and access information equally, towards a fair development in the region.

He stressed that information and communication technology (ICT) development should be connected with sustainable development, thus ensuring economic interests, reducing negative impacts on the environment and society, as well as promoting the fundamental role and development impetus of other economic sectors.

He underlined the need to promote research and development of high-tech products and build IT-applied environmental protection policies to serve the country’s growth.

A safe cyber environment for the information access and sharing of people and businesses in ASEAN member countries is needed together with enhanced cooperation with partners to attract resources and take advantage of technical assistance from developed countries and international organisations, he added.

Themed “Looking towards a comprehensive, safe and sustainable ASEAN Community on the digital basis,” the annual meeting aims to strengthen collaboration in telecommunications and IT among the ten ASEAN member states as well as between the bloc and its partners.

The ministers are scheduled to debate and set forth orientations and priority targets for cooperation in the next stage, focusing on measures to promote connectivity in information infrastructure, narrowing the digital gap and increasing IT applications in the bloc, as well as cooperation programmes with dialogue countries and international organisations.

They will also launch the ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2020 (AIM 2020), which aims to facilitate cooperation programmes and activities in this field between 2016 and 2020.

The master plan puts forth priorities for collaboration and development, as well as a roadmap to realise the targets for the next five years based on forecasts on technological development trends, demands of regional businesses and citizens, and socio-economic impacts in the region and the world at large.

Within the framework of the meeting, ASEAN member nations and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will sign a memorandum of understanding on ICT cooperation in 2016-2018, which is expected to further promote links between the two sides through the realisation of joint initiatives in priority areas.

The two-day event offers an opportunity for Vietnam to introduce its achievements and development potential in the ICT sector to partners in and outside the region, as well as its determination and commitment to successfully implementing AIM 2020.

Vietnam will take this occasion to promote its land and people while bringing its citizens closer to the ASEAN Community, which will be established at the end of this year.

TELMIN was formed following a decision to create stronger regional ties within the telecommunications fraternity in ASEAN.

It meets once a year, during which the ministers hold a dialogue with ASEAN dialogue partners, including China, Japan, the RoK and India.

The annual event also involves telecommunications and IT industry players in ASEAN through the e-ASEAN Business Council, which is composed of representatives of the private sector from all ASEAN member countries.-VNA