The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s Secretariat held a virtual ceremony on Saturday to mark the bloc’s 53rd founding anniversary under the theme “ASEAN 53: A Cohesive Journey to Recovery”. Opening the event, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi said that under Việt Nam’s strong and able Chairmanship, ASEAN remained focused in undertaking important milestone exercises, as the region demonstrates commitment in its integration journey.
Noting that the region is gradually adapting to the ”new normal”, Dato Lim underpinned the significance for ASEAN to develop a robust, holistic and pragmatic post-pandemic recovery framework to mitigate socio-economic effects, while continuing to advance regional economic integration.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi rallied for all ASEAN member states to continue to work together in fighting the pandemic.
“ASEAN must always cooperate to maintain our regional peace and stability, and not to be dragged into the storm of geopolitical tension or being forced to choose sides,” she said.
“Therefore, the region must stay ahead of the curve to maintain our centrality, maintain our relevance and be at the driving seat in turning rivalry into cooperation, distrust into strategic trust.”
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh noted that over the past 53 years, ASEAN has many times shown its strength from solidarity and the capacity of recovery.
By embracing 10 member nations, ASEAN has turned Southeast Asia from a land of discord to a land of concord, from confrontation to cooperation, and from poverty to dynamic development, he said.
Minh noted that the ASEAN Community today has become a big family of six hundred and fifty millions people with a combined GDP of US$3 trillion and as a peaceful, stable and resilient region with dynamic, vibrant economies.
Turning the vision into actions, ASEAN has promoted the interest of nations as well as peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Minh said the association is entering an important period. The new dynamism amid the geopolitical situation and emerging regional and global issues require the association to become more united and active for adaptation. Working together, all nations can overcome all challenges and move forward, he stated.
The Deputy PM believes all countries in the region should increase efforts to reinforce the Community, while staying positive and active in promoting the partnership between ASEAN and dialogue partners, and ensuring the regional architecture in which the open, transparent, inclusive and rule-based ASEAN plays the central role.
The year of 2020 also marks Việt Nam’s 25 years of ASEAN membership, he noted, vowing that with the country’s commitments and experience in the past 25 years, Việt Nam will make more active contributions to the association.
Under the chairmanship of Việt Nam this year, ASEAN has applied measures for people’s health protection and economic recovery. The association has taken the pioneer role in regional efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, and reformed its operations, deepening its foreign relations, thus enhancing its international status, he said.
Minh said Việt Nam will continue to work closely with neighbours and friends to build a strong and united ASEAN, one that is indispensable for peace and prosperity within the region and beyond, in line with ASEAN’s principles and value of ‘Think Community, Act Community’.
The online celebration was broadcast on ASEAN’s website and social media platforms. Along with the official speeches, the online celebration featured congratulatory wishes from ASEAN citizens, ASEAN’s external partners and special musical performances by the region’s youth and a Thai-based social enterprise, C ASEAN Consonant.
Source: Vietnam News