ASEAN enhances consensus, cooperation for mutual development

From the first five members in August 1967, ASEAN has now encompassed all 10 countries, enjoying increasing consensus, close connection and strong cooperation for mutual development.
From the first five members signing the Bangkok Declaration to set up the association in August 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has now encompassed all 10 countries in the Southeast Asian region, enjoying increasing consensus, close connection and strong cooperation for mutual development.

Solidarity and cooperation for mutual development have always been the main trend in ASEAN throughout its 46-year existence over the past time, which closely connect its member countries.

At present, cooperation and connectivity in ASEAN is entering a new development period with strong qualitative changes, advancing towards the goal of becoming a community with close political connectivity, strong economy and sharing and mutually helpful member countries by 2015.

Together with accelerating the implementation of the master plans on ASEAN connectivity, the association is making efforts to promote even development among regions and countries to ensure that all 10 member nations will achieve the set target of forming the ASEAN Community.

Towards a closely and comprehensively connected community by 2015, apart from efforts to build a strong security community, ASEAN is working hard to fulfil regional commitments and build the Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community. Economic measures will be taken more drastically, including opening the market and facilitating trade, investment and services within the framework of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS), and the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA).

Other measures include completing policy frameworks to turn ASEAN into a competitive economic zone, promoting balanced and sustainable development, narrowing development gaps, and effectively implementing agreements on Free Trade Area (FTAs) and Comprehensive Economic Partnerships (CEP) the bloc has signed with its partners, which would help further the association’s integration into the global economy.

To realise the target of a people-centred ASEAN Community, all member states are paying greater attention and allocating more resources to ensure and improve the living quality of more than 600 million people in the region.

According to ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, while there are more than two years to go until the formation of the ASEAN community, the regional grouping has now started outlining the viewpoint and vision for the bloc’s development after 2015 as well as working out mechanisms to ensure that the association is capable to implement measures for further development and deeper and more comprehensive integration, at the same time continues to be a region with high economic competitiveness and equal, fair and sustainable development.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has affirmed that ASEAN solidarity and consensus has been clearly demonstrated, especially when dealing with sensitive issues and priorities during the final stage of the formation of the ASEAN Community by 2015.

ASEAN is also of the view that it is now the time the bloc should build a vision beyond 2015 and draft the ASEAN Community’s long-term development strategies after the year 2015.

During its 18-year journey with the ASEAN after joining the association on July 28, 1995 , Vietnam has actively, positively and responsibly participated in the association’s activities. It has worked together with other members to put forth important orientations to intensify actions towards the ASEAN Community and enhance the group’s foreign policies as well as its central role in regional cooperation process and in dealing with regional and international issues of mutual concerns and interests.

ASEAN cooperation will be an important pillar in Vietnam ’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification, multilateralisation and active regional and international integration.-VNA

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