Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has outlined his country’s key priorities when it chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2018.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte handed over the ASEAN chairmanship to Singapore at the closing ceremony of the 31st ASEN Summit in Manila, the Philippines, on November 14.

In his speech, PM Lee said Singapore will seek to ensure the group promotes and upholds a rules-based regional order to better deal with emerging security challenges such as cyber security, transnational crime and terrorism.

It will also steer fellow members to press on with regional economic integration and enhance connectivity so as to keep the region competitive and prosperous. The country will find innovative ways to manage and make use of digital technologies and equip ASEAN citizens with skills and capabilities.

He said the goal is for ASEAN to remain a central and dynamic driving force in the region that can deal with challenges and opportunities.

Under Singapore’s chairmanship, ASEAN will also continue to build relations with external partners, particularly by organising special summits in Australia and India.

2018 will also mark 45 years of ASEAN-Japan relations and 25 years of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). As the ASEAN Chair, Singapore will continue promoting cooperation at ASEAN-led forums like ASEAN 1, ASEAN 3, ARF, ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting and East Asia Summit, Lee added.-VNA