Ministers take photo at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat (Photo VNA)

Singapore (VNA)
– Singapore, which chairs ASEAN this year, has proposed leaders of member states adopt a vision statement at their April summit in Singapore to build an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture.

A draft document envisioned by Singapore with the title “ASEAN Leaders’ Vision for a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN” was presented to ASEAN foreign ministers at their two-day meeting concluded on February 6.

It contains 10 key principles, including “unity and centrality”, “rules-based order” and “embrace technology” along with more than 30 priority areas to which leaders will pledge their focus.

The priorities range from forging an ASEAN extradition treaty to combat transnational crimes, to concluding with China a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea, to establishing an ASEAN smart cities network and taking initiatives to tackle terrorism and radicalisation.

Ticking off a list of challenges facing ASEAN, such as growing uncertainties in the global strategic landscape, violent extremism, climate change and maritime issues, the seven-page document seeks an ASEAN that is able to "navigate these challenges in a coordinated, integrated and effective manner."

The draft document also reaffirms ASEAN's principle of consensus for decision-making and says ASEAN will maintain its long-standing "principle of non-interference in the internal affairs" of member countries.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA