PM Nguyen Tan Dung receives Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Panyarak Poolthup. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The close cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand in building the ASEAN Community (AC) will help promote regional connectivity and ensure the bloc’s central role in settling challenges in the region, Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Panyarak Poolthup said.

In his interview granted to Vietnam News Agency reporters, he said the close partnership is also important to realising their bilateral trade target of 20 billion USD by 2020.

During Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to Thailand in 2013, the two countries elevated their ties to a strategic partnership, which covers cooperation in politics, security-defence, economics, culture-society, people-to-people exchange, regional and international matters, and other aspects of shared interests.

They also inked an action plan on implementing their strategic partnership between 2014 and 2018.

With such agreements, Vietnam and Thailand made great strides in fostering collaboration in all realms, including within the ASEAN framework, the diplomat noted.

The formation of the AC at the end of 2015 will be a landmark in the development of the grouping, Panyarak Poolthup said, noting that the AC will centre on people in all fields, from politics and security and economics to culture-society, which will benefit all people.

The expeditious execution of the ASEAN Charter and the community’s blueprints is pivotal to the success of the AC’s establishment, so as to build a community that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible. Those efforts will help the member nations optimise opportunities and effectively cope with regional and global challenges, the diplomat added.

Additionally, it is necessary to improve public awareness of the grouping and the AC so that the region’s people take pride in being part of ASEAN. The building of ASEAN under the motto “One vision, One identity, One community” will create a community with dynamic and competitive people, he said.

Thailand believes that no country is left behind in the evolving AC and all states have their interests in this community, the ambassador stressed.

Panyarak Poolthup described ASEAN’s centrality as key to responding to new challenges in the region, calling for the bloc’s common voice and effective actions to deal with emerging challenges.

With regard to the East Sea issue, he said that though Thailand has fulfilled its role as the coordinator of the ASEAN – China relationship from 2012 to 2015, it is willing to work with all concerned parties, including Vietnam, to enhance security and stability in the waters as well as navigation security and cooperation, he added.

Founded in 1967 in Bangkok, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) now comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Leaders of the 10 member countries signed the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community at the 27th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 22. The community is set to officially come into being on December 31 this year.-VNA