Indonesian President Susilo Yudhoyono on April 8 received new ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, who succeeded Surin Pitsuwan from Thailand.

The two leaders discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual concern, including regional connectivity and integration, and increased cooperation between the ASEAN Secretariat and Indonesia to help realise the ASEAN Community by 2015.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony on January 9, Minh said ASEAN needs to step up efforts towards an early start of negotiations with China with a view to achieving an early conclusion of a Code of Conduct on the East Sea .

Minh also stressed that it is time for ASEAN member nations to enhance investment, labour, commodities and services to meet current global challenges.

According to Minh, ASEAN has achieved the establishment of a free trade area since 2010 allowing for free flow of goods within the region. Thanks to this, intra-ASEAN trade saw an increase of 25.4 percent in 2012, which has a positive imp act on member countries.-VNA