Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has said ASEAN is facing increasingly intense challenges, on the occasion of the 53rd founding anniversary of the bloc.

Speaking at a press teleconference on August 7, the FM mentioned challenges such as competition among major powers, COVID-19 control efforts and socio-economic impacts in the region.

She said such challenges could be easily overcome if regional member states stay united and maintain peace and stability in the Southeast Asia.

Amid current challenges, ASEAN needs to follow the Declaration of Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) signed in 1971, she said, adding that the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), signed by 40 countries, including the US, China, India, Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea, should be respected by parties concerned.

According to Marsudi, ASEAN has played an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the region while promoting regional economic growth to a level higher than the world’s average./.