Deputy PM: Vietnam works for more prosperous ASEAN

Hanoi (VNA) –
With its goodwill, endeavours, enthusiasm and responsibility, Vietnam has
significantly contributed to the common achievements of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham
Binh Minh has written in an article marking the group’s 50th founding

In the article, Deputy
PM Minh recalled the formation of ASEAN in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 8, 1967
with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines as its
founding members.

“ASEAN was born to
create a firm foundation for common actions in order to enhance cooperation in
Southeast Asia in the spirit of equality and partnership, contributing to peace
and progress in the region,” he wrote.

After admitting Brunei
in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999, ASEAN
now brings together ten members. The first ASEAN Summit in 1976 demonstrated
the group’s greater attention and stronger political commitments to regional

The ASEAN Free Trade
Area (AFTA), which was established in 1992 as the outcome of the first 25 years
of economic cooperation of the group, has created an important foundation for
the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community.

Formed in 1994 in the
spirit of promoting peace and security through dialogue and cooperation in
Asia-Pacific, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) initiated dialogue and
consultation mechanisms on security and political issues in the region, the Deputy
PM added.

He also recalled the
signing of the ASEAN Charter in 2007, turning ASEAN from a merely cooperation
organisation into a legal entity.

Despite close
geographical locations, the ASEAN member countries have different political
systems, cultures, languages and development levels. However, the gaps have
been narrowed and the establishment of the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015
opened up a new chapter in history of ASEAN, bringing ASEAN cooperation to a
new height.

Besides, ASEAN has
stepped up collaboration with countries outside the region in an effort to take
advantage of practical support and assistance from partners, while consolidating
and maintaining its central role in the region, Deputy PM Minh wrote.

He stressed that
results of parliamentary cooperation and people-to-people diplomacy have
contributed to diversifying the picture of the ASEAN Community in the future.

The official also
pointed out a range of difficulties and challenges facing the group, caused by
adverse impacts of competition between world powers as well as rapid
developments of the regional and international situation.

Against the backdrop,
the Deputy PM underlined the need for the ASEAN member countries to make
stronger political commitments, carry forward intra-bloc solidarity and
connectivity, seriously implement programmes and plans, respect common
principles and standards, and harmonise national with regional interests.

He highlighted
Vietnam’s 22-year membership in ASEAN, during which the country has made every
effort to accelerate the admission of other Southeast Asian nations to the
group, and contribute to defining development targets and orientations, and
making decisions in ASEAN.

The official mentioned Vietnam’s
hallmarks in hosting the 6th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi in December 1998 and
assuming the Chair of the ASEAN Standing Committee in 2000-2001 and the ASEAN
Chair in 2010.

Since the ASEAN
Community took shape at the end of 2015, Vietnam and other ASEAN member
countries have actively built the community, strictly implemented commitments
and raised initiatives in many fields. Worthy of note, Vietnam is one of the
two best performers in implementing priority measures set in the ASEAN Economic
Community Blueprint.

Vietnam has also made
significant contributions to expanding and strengthening cooperation between
ASEAN and its partners, and successfully assumed the role of coordinator for
relations between ASEAN and China (2009-2012), ASEAN and the EU (2012-2015) and
ASEAN and  India (2015-2018).

As an active member,
Vietnam has played a key role in promoting solidarity and unity in ASEAN as
well as its central role, especially in maintaining peace and security to serve
the region’s development and boosting cooperation in prioritised  economic sectors.

The country has taken
the initiative in putting forth action plans and proposing initiatives and
feasible projects regarding social welfare, education, employment and
environmental protection, aiming to raise people’s living standards.

Deputy PM Minh pledged
that Vietnam will work harder to promote practical cooperation between ASEAN
and its major partners, and uphold the roles played by ASEAN and the country
itself in relations with countries and organisations worldwide.

ASEAN is of strategic
significance to Vietnam, he stressed, adding that with the resolve to ensure
sustainable development, for the interest of present and future generations,
with people as the centre, it is hoped that the ASEAN Community would develop
sustainably and prosperously.-VNA

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