Le Luong Minh, Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has emphasised the group’s recent achievements in the all three pillars of politics-security, economics and socio-culture, and its development orientations in the next five years.

Minh is in Bandar Seri Begawan , Brunei , for a series of ASEAN meetings such as the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, and the 9 th ASEAN Politics-Security Community Council Meeting, that are preparations for the 22 nd ASEAN Summit later this month.

Addressing the meeting, the ASEAN Chief said that amidst the evolving regional and global geo-political landscape, which, at the same time, offers new opportunities of cooperation, and challenges ASEAN’s ability to maintain its centrality, ASEAN is continuing its outward looking and inclusive approach in its external engagement.

While solidifying its unity, ASEAN should continue to engage its partners constructively through initiatives and ideas to address challenges faced by the region by the region, both traditional and non-traditional, he said.

The broader improvement in Asian economies along with the slowdown in developed nations have also begun to alter the geo-political conceptions of the world.

According to the ASEAN Chief, while the world economy is projected to grow moderately in 2013, ASEAN economies are expected to grow at 5.5 percent from 5.3 percent last year with expected increase in domestic demand and modest recovery in export growth.

On this basis, he suggested, ASEAN would need to review its accomplishments and its tasks ahead to realise the ASEAN Community by December 31, 2015.

According to Minh, ASEAN is considering a number of issues, including Timor Leste’s bid to join ASEAN, the expansion of strategic partnership with dialogue partners, the settlement of disputes in and between some member countries.

In the spirit of promoting dialogue and peaceful solutions of diputes and conflicts, to maintain regional peace and stability, ASEAN should continue to ensure full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and early conclude the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as a key instrument to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Mentioning ASEAN’s achievements in its Community building, Minh highlighted major challenges facing the group’s regional and international efforts.

He said the next five years as a period for reflection and greater action. For the next five years, he said he is confident that ASEAN would continue to provide a platform for peaceful dialogue and cooperation among member states and with the rest of the international community.

ASEAN would continue its efforts to transform the region into an economic powerhouse and integrate it into the global economy.

Likewise, ASEAN would also continue to invest in its people and on various areas such as culture, education, health care, environment, food security, among others, to ensure the ASEAN Community’s well-being and resilience.

ASEAN has acquired the necessary experience and confidence to further strengthen its central role in various mechanisms and processes and hence, promote the collective interests of its members, he noted.-VNA