Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (middle) (Source: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has underscored the need to enhance ASEAN’s capacity and self-reliance as well as uphold the bloc’s central role, considering them crucial to ASEAN’s success.

In a speech delivered to the plenary session of the 28th ASEAN Summit that opened in Vientiane, Laos on September 6, the PM urged the ASEAN member states to strengthen consultations and raise a common voice on regional issues directly impacting regional security and development as well as orientations to relationship with partners and the regional architecture.

He asked for identifying priorities to the implementation of the ASEAN Vision 2025 and action plans for each pillar.

On the political-security pillar, ASEAN needs to promote trust-building activities, preventive diplomatic measures, ASEAN’s code of conduct, and law abidance, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, contributing to maintaining peace and security by working closely together to prevent risks of conflict in the region and cope with non-traditional security challenges, particularly terrorism and cyber security.

In the economic field, priority should be given to facilitating trade, improving the business and investment climate, developing small- and medium-sized enterprises in added value and technological sectors, increasing coordination in macro-economic supervision and financial-monetary stability, he said.

The government leader called for intensifying cultural and people-to-people exchanges, personnel training, environment protection, climate change response, and disaster control.

On bolstering connectivity and narrowing the development gap, he suggested developing road and railway networks, improving maritime and aviation capabilities, as well as integration capacity of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Towards the 50 th founding anniversary of ASEAN next year, the PM said Vietnam vows to take practical and effective actions and do more for the bloc.

At the session, ASEAN leaders stressed the need to retain unity and improve the efficiency of operating mechanisms to bring practical benefits for the bloc’s people.

Later, they held dialogues with representatives from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Council, the ASEAN Youth Organisation and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council.

In the afternoon the same day, leaders attended ceremonies to sign the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region, adopt the Master Plan on 2025 ASEAN Connectivity and the third phase of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan, and debut the “Visit ASEAN@50” campaign logo.

Participants are due to attend the 29 th ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN+1 Summit with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and the United Nations, the ASEAN+3 Summit and the Mekong-Japan Summit on September 7.-VNA