Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the opening ceremony of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore on August 2 (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must continue to enhance the open, inclusive and ASEAN-centred regional architecture, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

Speaking at the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore on August 2, the Singaporean PM reiterated that the architecture has contributed to ensuring peace and stability in the region.

He said that it is important that ASEAN continues to support multilateral system and join hands with like-minded partners to strengthen its cooperation network.

Lee noted that trade tensions between the US and ASEAN's other dialogue partners have escalated, and the rule-based multilateral trading system, which has underpinned ASEAN's growth and prosperity, is under pressure.

ASEAN member countries need to stay committed to trade liberalisation and economic integration, he added.

Lee also lauded efforts of ASEAN countries to conclude negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RCEP, comprising 10 ASEAN members and its six free trade agreement partners, namely China, Australia, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand, will be the world's largest trading bloc that covers nearly half of global population and 30 percent of the world's current annual gross domestic product.-VNA