Ambassador Nguyen Hoanh Nam, Head of the Vietnamese delegation to ASEAN (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The formal establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community a year ago has marked a significant stride in the bloc’s development process.

The implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 in 2016 has brought about positive outcomes, but many challenges still lie ahead.

Initial outcomes

Head of the Vietnamese delegation to ASEAN, Ambassador Nguyen Hoanh Nam said the deployment of master plans across three pillars of politics-security, economics, and culture-society has made positive progress. 

He noted that 140 out of the 290 action lines under the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Blueprint 2025 have been carried out while socio-cultural-economic matters have reaped productive outcomes.

Regarding external relations, in 2016, ASEAN held special summit with the US, and commemorative summits with Russia and China, during which important statements and blueprints for bilateral cooperation orientations in the coming time were adopted.

Additionally, ASEAN has continued establishing collaborative ties with new partners such as granting the Sectoral Dialogue Partner status to Switzerland and the Development Partner status to Germany, while expanding the Treaty on Amity and Cooperation (TAC) for a number of involved parties like Chile, Egypt, Iran and Morocco.

In 2016, ASEAN has built two crucial documents, including the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC) and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) for the third phrase, which were adopted at the 28th ASEAN Summit.

Difficulties and challenges

Nevertheless, in the new development period, ASEAN is encountering numerous difficulties and challenges from both inside and outside the bloc.

The primary internal setback is to ensure effective operation of ASEAN apparatus in increasing connectivity and cooperation among member states and with foreign partners, especially in coping with challenges in the new situation. The coordination between agencies in implementing programmes to build the ASEAN Community should be closer, especially in interdisciplinary fields.

The limited financial resource in carrying out cooperative projects poses a headache.

According to Ambassador Nguyen Hoanh Nam, the ASEAN member countries are seeking appropriate measures to deal with the aforesaid problems such as facilitating trade, investment, labour, transport and connectivity to bring pragmatic benefits for regional people.

Current international issues, ranging from non-traditional and traditional security matters to protectionism, multinational disputes, and complicated developments in the East Sea are challenging ASEAN.

Therefore, it is significant for the member countries to strengthen solidarity and promote the central role of the bloc to increase its position and contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability, security and development in the region.

Vietnam’s contributions

Vietnam’s contributions to ASEAN development over the past time has been recognised by other member states.

As an active, proactive and responsible member of ASEAN, Vietnam will be continuously coordinating with other countries to build the ASEAN Community across the three pillars as well as realise effectively initiatives on forging connectivity and narrowing development gaps, which were approved by ASEAN senior officials at the recent 28th-29th ASEAN Summits in Laos, and fully implement Vietnam’s commitments in the field.

Vietnam will partner with other ASEAN countries, including the Philippines – ASEAN Chair 2017, for activities celebrating the 50th founding anniversary of the bloc next year.

Ambassador Nguyen Hoanh Nam affirmed that Vietnam will spare no effort to maintain solidarity and promote the central role of ASEAN in tackling regional challenges to maintain peace, security and further deepen the relations between ASEAN and external partners.

Vietnam is determined to soundly fulfill the role as the coordinating country of ASEAN-India  and ASEAN-Pacific Alliance relations and Chair of the IAI Working Group in 2017, he added./.