Vietnam must thoroughly assess the opportunities and challenges that can arise after the ASEAN Community comes into being on December 31, 2015, in order to help its agencies, localities and businesses fully prepare for their engagement in the community.

Delegates made the suggestion at an inter-sectoral meeting in Hanoi on November 29 to review Vietnam ’s involvement in ASEAN cooperation this year and set orientations for its partnership with the bloc in 2014.

They hailed Vietnam ’s efforts this year to promote the bloc’s solidarity, friendship, cooperation and prestige.

Specifically, the country has joined with other member nations in effectively rolling out regional priorities as scheduled while contributing to ASEAN’s key decisions, including mapping out directions for the bloc’s future development.

Vietnam has worked hard to fulfil national responsibilities towards the association’s common goals, ensuring its commitments made in the past are met, especially in economics. So far, Vietnam has fulfilled 84.8 percent of its goals towards the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community for the 2008-2013 period, ranking fourth behind Singapore , Malaysia and Thailand.

During the year, the country has upheld its role as the Chair of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Task Group and Coordinator for the ASEAN – EU dialogue relations for the 2012-2015 period.

It has also worked closely with other coordinators to lift relations with ASEAN partners to greater heights, especially with Thailand to bolster the ASEAN – China relations, including dealing with the East Sea issue and pushing for the building of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

The country has contributed to regional joint efforts to deal with challenges, especially non-traditional security challenges like natural calamities, epidemics and trans-national crimes. Based on Vietnam ’s proposal, the 23 rd ASEAN Summit adopted the ASEAN Declaration on Mutual Assistance on Natural Disasters.

Concluding the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh said as an active and responsible ASEAN member, Vietnam needs to contribute more to ASEAN’s joint efforts in realising the community as scheduled, expanding ties with partners and upholding the grouping’s central role in important issues related to regional peace, security and development.-VNA