(Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) flag hoisting ceremony in Hanoi on August 8 morning to mark the 52nd anniversary of the grouping.

The event drew Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of SOM Vietnam; Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh; Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Tuan Dung; Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Ngo Van Quy; Venezuelan Ambassador Jorge Rondon Uzcategui; as well as diplomats from ASEAN countries in Hanoi.

Addressing the ceremony, Deputy FM Dung noted that since its inception, ASEAN has overcome multiple challenges and emerged into a strong and resilient community with all the 10 Southeast Asian countries as members.

“Our Community has grown in all dimensions with sustainability. The cohesive and strong ties among member states have allowed us to be effectively responsive to the challenges of the new era,” he said.

He stated that the ASEAN has undeniably become a key factor for the region’s peace, stability, cooperation and development, and is enjoying extensive relations with various partners, especially major powers. This has brought about significant and tangible benefits to each and every member state.

According to Dung, during the ASEAN’s past journey, multiple milestones have been recorded such as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) in 1976, which provided the fundamental principles for peaceful and friendly relations among member states.

Another example is the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) established in 1992, the first building block for the regional economic integration and connectivity. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was established in 1994 for exchange and cooperation in addressing regional security issues. Notably, the signing of the ASEAN Charter in 2007 has created the legal basis for establishment of the ASEAN Community resting on three Pillars in 2015, he stated.

The official underlined that these historic milestones are vivid testaments to ASEAN’s consistent aspirations and determination to maintain peace and promote sustainable development through dialogue and rules-based cooperation, and by strengthening intra- and extra-ASEAN connectivity, and enhancing ASEAN's adaptability in the new era, towards “an inclusive, rules-based, people-oriented and people-centered community”. In 2019, under the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, ASEAN continues its efforts to promote sustainability across all the three pillars of the Community.

Next year, Vietnam will assume the ASEAN Chairmanship, a weighty responsibility, said Dung, stressing that Vietnam pledges to join hands with other ASEAN member states to build upon the past achievements, further promote dialogues and cooperation, and strive to foster a stable and peaceful environment conducive to development.

“We also remain committed to expanding business and investment opportunities, improving the quality of life and community health, promoting social security and welfare, fostering ASEAN's common identity, connecting the peoples of ASEAN and promoting ASEAN’s values beyond the region

“ASEAN cooperation remains one of the top priorities in Vietnam's foreign policy. Throughout the last 24 years since our admission to ASEAN in 1995, our country, as an active and responsible member state, is proud to have proactively made significant contributions to the ASEAN Community building,” said the official.

He expressed his hope that in the near future, especially in 2020 as Vietnam assumes the ASEAN Chairmanship, the country wishes to receive continued support and cooperation of all ASEAN friends and other regional and international partners and friends so as to make even greater contributions to building a peaceful, stable, prosperous, people-centered and people-oriented ASEAN Community.

ASEAN flag hoisting is an annual event conducted by all the 10 member countries of the association that groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA