The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a flag hoisting ceremony in Hanoi on August 8 to mark the 46 th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and 18 years since Vietnam joined the grouping (July 28, 1995-2013).

The event was attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh, leaders of some ministries and ambassadors from ASEAN member countries in Vietnam .

Speaking to the press after the ceremony, Deputy FM Vinh said over the past 46 years, ASEAN has recorded great achievements, including the successful building of its charter and the completion of two thirds of its path towards an ASEAN Community, which is expected to be officially announced on December 31, 2015.

The association has well performed its core role in the evolving regional architecture, aiming to promote cooperation and peace as well as maintaining stability in the region, he said.

In addition, ASEAN has made contributions to stepping up trust building measures and creating regional cooperation mechanisms that help boost connectivity with partners, especially world powers, to encourage them to join hands with the bloc in fulfilling common goals of peace, stability and cooperation for development, he added.

This is the foundation for the evolving regional architecture with ASEAN playing the key role, so that all efforts made by regional countries better serve the development and benefit of people, he noted.

Minh went on to say that since it was established in 1967, ASEAN has upheld a spirit of cooperation and consensus for the common development and prosperity of the region

Over the past time, the grouping has been actively dealing with matters and challenges related to regional security and development, including the East Sea issue, maintaining peace, stability, maritime security and safety, and ensuring the peaceful settlement of all disputes in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

This can be considered a bright spot in its path of economic connectivity and integration, he said.

Regarding contributions that Vietnam has made the ASEAN since it joined the grouping 18 years ago, Deputy FM Vinh affirmed that his country has been more active in ASEAN’s joint efforts.

Particularly, the country’s engagement in ASEAN is parallel with its own economic promotion and development, he noted, adding that this has created new status and dynamism for Vietnam , allowing it to make more contributions to the association.

According to the Deputy FM, Vietnam has step by step integrated itself into ASEAN with the full and responsible implementation of its membership commitments. From observing existing documents such as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), the country has involved in making orientations for the association’s operations.

Vietnam has served as the ASEAN Chair for several times, especially in 2010 when the grouping applied new regulations and organisational structure under its Charter.

During the year, all other member states applauded that Vietnam laid a legal foundation for the realisation of the Charter and really kicked off efforts to strongly implement the roadmap of building an ASEAN Community, which was approved in 2009, he said.

Minh made it clear that Vietnam has also directly participated in making long-term and strategic documents of ASEAN, paving the way for the association to build and develop the Community, while expanding its ties with partners.

He stressed that such contributions have created a new position for Vietnam as well as fueling ASEAN’s joint efforts towards its common goals.

Vietnam itself has exerted great efforts at national level to meet criteria on economic integration and connection, he said, adding that the country’s renewal and integration has also created a momentum for it to catch up with and actively take part in the ASEAN path until 2015.

The country will continue promoting its responsibilities together with other countries to make ASEAN united and unanimous for strong development in the following years, playing a core and active role in maintaining regional peace, security and progress.

Vietnam , with its economic policies, renewal achievements and experience, will make greater contributions to ASEAN, he concluded.-VNA