27/04/2015 14:52 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

ASEAN Summit focuses on uniting region

Kuala Lumpur, April 17 (VNA) – The 26th ASEAN Summit kicked off in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia on April 27 under the theme “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision.”

During the event, leaders of 10 ASEAN member countries are to discuss measures for the building of the ASEAN Community, the shaping of the association’s post-2015 vision and the bloc’s external relations.

Participants will also talk about the central role played by ASEAN and the challenges facing the grouping. Solutions to these problems will be suggested.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Abdul Razak said 2015 will be a milestone in the history of ASEAN, noting that the vision of creating a single community will be realised by the end of December.

He stated that the grouping’s collective duty this year is to formulate a successor document to the Roadmap to Establish the ASEAN Community. This will provide the basis for how to further strengthen the association’s unity and deepen integration over the next ten years, he said, adding that these are two crucial undertakings for charting a bold, inclusive and forward-looking future for ASEAN and its peoples.

He reiterated the Summit’s theme “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision,” which highlighted the hope to make ASEAN “people centred”.

“This means good governance, higher standards of living, sustainable development, empowerment of women, and greater opportunity for all people,” he declared.

The PM went on to say that a people-centred ASEAN must work for the benefit of their citizens both at home and internationally, stressing that the concept of ASEAN Centrality is key. A strong and united ASEAN - that is friendly and believes in cooperative engagement with all countries - provides the framework for the maintenance of regional peace and stability, he said.

“While we continue our engagement and cooperative relationships with countries outside of ASEAN, we need to peacefully manage differences closer to home, including overlapping maritime claims, without increasing tensions,” he stressed.

The Malaysian PM noted that recent developments have raised concerns about the East Sea, and given the importance of its sea lanes to international trade, it is natural that almost any occurrence there will attract attention. ASEAN must address these developments in a proactive, but also in a positive and constructive way, he stated.

Najib also underscored that respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, must be the basis of the rules of engagement and activities in the East Sea. He also expressed hope that progress will be made in efforts to introduce a binding maritime Code of Conduct.

Following the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who is leading the Vietnamese delegation at the event, joined other ASEAN leaders for a plenary session.

They will hold meetings with the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and ASEAN Business Advisory Council.