Vietnam has played its role as Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) well in 2010, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung remarked on the final day of the country’s term.

The following is the full text of the speech made by the Prime Minister on the occasion:
“Today, the 31st December, 2010, Vietnam officially concludes its term as the rotating Chair of ASEAN. We are all pleased and proud as Vietnam has done a good job in the position, obtaining a maximum level of all set targets and making a deep mark of its own both in terms of the content as well as in organisation and management work. The year’s success was manifested by important results of long-lasting significance for the interests of ASEAN and the region as well as our country,” the PM said.

He went on to say that for ASEAN, its member countries’ common determination and efforts under the theme “Towards the ASEAN Community: from vision to action” had made substantial changes and realised an important step toward the target of forming the ASEAN Community by 2015. The ASEAN connectivity shifted towards action and practicality; with concrete progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN Charter and the Roadmap to build the ASEAN Community based on three major pillars: political-security, economic and socio-cultural, as well as in other important plans, especially the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan. ASEAN’s external ties and central role in the region were strengthened and promoted, manifested by new and significant developments of the regional co-operation frameworks in which ASEAN played a decisive role such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, the East-Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+). ASEAN also made important contributions to international forums such as APEC, ASEM, the G20 and the United Nations. Partners have been attaching greater importance to the relationship with ASEAN, supporting its central role in the region, intensifying multifaceted co-operation, and increasing commitments to assist ASEAN in various forms, including financial assistance.

“For the East Asia region, an environment of peace, security, co-operation and development has been strengthened and developed. Through utilising regional peace and security mechanisms and instruments, ASEAN worked to obtain positive changes in an effort to increase dialogues and co-operation, build confidence and share conduct standards regarding political-security issues, including complicated ones such as the East Sea and the Korean Peninsula. The co-operation towards a sustainable development and preparedness for coping with global challenges, particularly climate change and natural disasters prevention along with the sub-regional Mekong co-operation, also saw remarkable progress within ASEAN itself as well as between ASEAN and its partners through the ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3 and EAS frameworks,” the PM said.

According to the PM, Vietnam had fulfilled at the highest level all set targets in strengthening ASEAN solidarity and co-operation, promoting a more favourable regional environment for the country’s security and development as well as improving its international role and position.

The country implemented well the tasks of the ASEAN Chair under the motto of “activeness, taking initiative and responsibility”, proposed the right themes and focuses for co-operation, and put forth valuable initiatives and suitable measures, Dung stressed.

Vietnam also completed the compilation of many important documents, successfully chaired and organised many successive meetings as well as made appropriate co-ordination and settlements to reach a consensus on major ASEAN decisions and on several complicated issues, he added.
The PM went on to say that countries’ leaders and delegates as well as domestic and international opinions spoke highly of Vietnam’s organisation and monitoring of conferences and its dynamic and agile guiding role.

He added that the country had also seized the opportunity when foreign leaders attended ASEAN events to hold bilateral talks and meetings during which many important agreements were reached, thus helping boost the comprehensive and practical development of bilateral ties between Vietnam and those countries.
Vietnam also made the best use of opportunities to promote the country, people, history, culture and development potential of Vietnam to countries’ leaders and delegates as well as the international press, he noted.

The results reached during the year that Vietnam sat in the ASEAN Chair in particular and the country’s 15-year ASEAN participation in general again affirmed the strategic importance and long-term interests of Vietnam's membership of ASEAN, an important part in the country’s foreign policy of independence, self-control, diversification and multilateralisation of relations and taking the initiative in regional and international integration.

The government leader stated that Vietnam’s great efforts and important contributions to ASEAN once again confirmed the country’s consistent policy of attaching importance to ASEAN in both multilateral co-operation and bilateral relations as well as of doing its utmost for a stronger and more united ASEAN with close connectivity.

The success of the ASEAN presidency year marked Vietnam’s considerable maturity in the regional and international integration process, he said, adding that the country could draw many valuable lessons, especially on the clear-sighted and timely steering of the Party and State; the close co-ordination among ministries, agencies and localities; the dedication, activeness and responsibility of officials who directly participated in ASEAN activities; and the thorough grasp and skilful application of the Party and State’s principles and guidelines regarding external relations, particularly in multilateral diplomacy.

On the occasion, PM Dung applauded the efforts made by all ministries, agencies, localities and bodies in the National Committee for ASEAN 2010 and officials who directly served activities during the 2010 ASEAN presidency year.

The PM, on behalf of the Vietnamese Government and people, extended sincere thanks to the governments and peoples of ASEAN member nations as well as the bloc’s partner countries for their valuable support and assistance to Vietnam as the ASEAN Chair.

He expressed his wish that Indonesia, the ASEAN Chair 2011, will continue to take ASEAN to new successes in the common efforts towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015.

In conclusion, the Vietnamese PM wished ASEAN a successful new year./.