The Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on July 18 hosted the 10th Leadership Forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The forum was themed ‘ASEAN at a Crossroads - Towards a Common Future, Shared Prosperity and Regional Stability.’

Malaysian PM Najib Tun Razak said the journey towards the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 – which will bring the members even closer together under the bloc’s umbrella – is moving in the right direction and is irreversible.

According to the PM, the creation of the AEC and the commencement of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) offer the prospects of forging the world’s largest free trade area (FTA).

He said increased regionalisation has substantially increased intra-ASEAN trade and business with other major partners, such as Japan, China and India.

ASEAN’s GDP in 2011 exceeded two trillion USD and is expected to reach ten trillion USD by 2030.

Razak stressed the vital role the younger generation will play in bringing innovation and creativity to their work to ensure ASEAN remain competitive in the global economy.-VNA