The Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a ceremony to mark the 45 th the founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and 17 years since the country joined the group in Hanoi on August 8.

Addressing the celebration, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said after 45 years since its birth (August 8, 1967), ASEAN has overcome many ups and downs to become a credible and dynamic, socio-political and economic organisation for the entire region.

The most remarkable of ASEAN’S achievements is its effort to translate the ASEAN Charter into reality, thus creating a legal foundation and a regulatory framework increasing regional unity and reaching nearer the group’s goal of building an ASEAN Community by 2015 with the hope for wider connectivity in the region and the world, Minh added.

The FM said as an official ASEAN member since July 28, 1995, Vietnam has always stood side by side with other member countries to make a contribution to building and consolidating ASEAN, making it stronger as well as helping the group overcome difficulties and challenges and reap important achievements for the common goals of the association and the region.

He said now is an important transitional period for ASEAN because there are just more than two years left for the group to form its common community, while many challenges still lay ahead. That is why, ASEAN should spare no effort to ensure the roadmap and make its vision come true.

Minh also said he believed that with its own identity, operational methods and basic principles, ASEAN will make a practical contribution to peace, stabilty and prosperity in the region and the world at large.

Following the celebration, the delegates enjoyed a cultural exchange of 10 ASEAN member countries and an ASEAN food festival.-VNA