48 years of ASEAN celebrated in New Zealand hinh anh 1Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Viet Dung delivers his speech at the reception. Photo: VNA

After 48 years, ASEAN has become a comprehensive regional cooperation association, stated Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyen Viet Dung at a reception to mark the bloc’s founding anniversary in New Zealand on August 11.

The birth of the ASEAN Community (AC) by the end of 2015 will present an opportunity for the bloc to turn into a dynamic region with enhanced capacity of optimising opportunities and effectively dealing with regional and international challenges, the Ambassador said.

He went on to say that the AC will also bring important and practical benefits to its members as well as to other countries, as it creates a huge market of some 650 million people from ten member states and a total gross domestic product (GDP) hovering around 3 trillion USD, approximately 3 percent of the global GDP.

On behalf of ASEAN ambassadors in the host country, Dung, who is also Chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Wellington, said he appreciates New Zealand’s support for the ASEAN in building the AC and implementing the post-2015 ASEAN vision.

He noted that 2015 marks 20 years of Vietnam’s ASEAN membership and 40 years of ASEAN-New Zealand partnership, and expressed hope that New Zealand will continue to support ASEAN’s central role, particularly in maintaining peace, stability and security in the region and the bloc’s position on the East Sea issue.

New Zealand’s Trade Minister Tim Groser underlined that his country established relations with the bloc in 1975 and was among the first nations to hold high-level meetings with the association two years later.

According to Groser, bilateral trade revenue currently exceeds 11 billion USD, 100 times higher than that of 40 years ago when their ties were first formed.

The ASEAN Community will consolidate the bloc’s position regionally and globally, he declared.

The meeting was co-organised by the Vietnam Embassy and embassies of other ASEAN member states in New Zealand.

ASEAN and New Zealand established a comprehensive partnership in 2010 and are considering upgrading their relations to a strategic partnership.-VNA