The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Vietnam-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation Association on August 8 co-hosted a meeting to mark the 45th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Aug. 8, 1967-Aug. 8, 2012).

Speaking at the meeting, President of the Vietnam-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation Association Le Cong Phung said that ASEAN was founded with the aim of strengthening economic, cultural and social cooperation among member countries and create favourable conditions for deeper regional and international integration.

From the first five members at its birth 45 years ago, ASEAN now has 10 member countries and has become a credible and active political-economic entity in the region, playing an important role in Southeast Asia and Asian-Pacific region, Phung said.

He emphasised the group’s efforts in intensifying cooperation on politics-security, building principles of conduct and strengthening the mutual understanding and trust among the member countries. It has created multi-faceted forum with many important partners in the world, taking the initiative and holding a decisive role in some regional and interregional cooperation frameworks, especially the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) which is the region’s only mechanism for political and security dialogues. It also facilitates cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, the East Asia Forum, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC).

Phung also said that since it became an official member of the group in 1995, Vietnam has integrated much more effectively with countries in the region in all fields including politics, economics, culture and society. Vietnam has made important contributions to the growth of the association. People friendship exchange between Vietnam and other member countries has also improved significantly.

He expressed hopes that in the future, with the support from ASEAN countries’ ambassadors to Vietnam, friendship exchanges between Vietnam and each member country and the association will develop universally.

Representing the ambassadors and diplomats of ASEAN member countries to Vietnam, Brunei Ambassador Dato Mahadi Wasli emphasised the common effort of the 10 member countries’ governments and people in striving to achieve the goal of establishing the ASEAN Community by 2015, believing that the goal will become a reality to meet the demand and benefit of each member country and the whole association.-VNA