The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held a ceremony in Jakarta on August 18 to mark its 47th founding anniversary (August 8, 1967-2014).

In his opening remark, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh emphasised the association’s great achievements in its path of construction and development over the past 47 years, for the goal of peace, friendship, cooperation and prosperity.

The ten-member bloc now plays an important and central role in ensuring peace, security, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large, he noted.
“ASEAN is poised to proclaim the realisation of the ASEAN Community by the end of next year. This will be another epic milestone signalling Southeast Asia ’s irrefutable connectivity and cohesiveness – where the peoples enjoy the blessings of peace, freedom and prosperity,” he said.

The ASEAN Community, which takes effect on 31 December 2015, will signal the start of an integrated political, economic, and socio-cultural community characterised by mutual recognition arrangements in many fields and integrated regional economy, among others.

Joining the event, Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa hailed the association as one of the successful regional organisations in the globe.

He also praised the success of the recent 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and other meetings of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Myanmar, saying they reflected the solidarity and unanimity of ASEAN in many issues related to the community building and efforts to deal with emerging traditional and non-traditional challenges, including East Sea tensions.

On the occasion, the ASEAN Secretariat announced the winners of two ASEAN-wide competitions, namely “ASEAN Community Photo Contest 2014: My ASEAN Nationality” and “ASEAN Youth Competition on Arts and Human Rights.”

ASEAN was founded on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand by the five original members namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Besides the founding members, ASEAN now includes Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.-VNA