The 19 th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) opened in Bali , Indonesia , on Nov. 17, drawing heads of state or government from all 10 ASEAN member countries.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono highlighted encouraging outcomes in building the Community and implementing ASEAN Connectivity and regional links, while expanding and deepening ties between the group and its partners, as well as maintaining its central role in an evolving regional architecture.

He stressed the need to promote the group’s results in the future, strengthen solidarity and look to a strong ASEAN Community, describing it as a basis for ASEAN to participate in and make more contributions to the common affairs of the international community ─ especially global issues of regional concern ─ as well as coordinating a stance at forums such as the UN, APEC, ASEM and G20.

After the opening ceremony, leaders of ASEAN countries attended a plenary session to discuss ways to increase cooperation in building the ASEAN Community, implementing ASEAN Connectivity and expanding the group’s external relations.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivered a speech at the session, calling for more cooperative efforts to build the ASEAN Community by 2015 and an increase in the decision-making role of the association./.