Forging ahead together

Tuesday, 2017-08-08 05:44:05
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National flags of ASEAN member countries
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NDO – Today, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) solemnly celebrates the 50th anniversary of its establishment (August 8, 1967-2017), which is an important event marking the 50th-year of ASEAN’s development and maturity as well as an opportunity for member countries to look back on the past with many ups and downs, but affirms their determination to steadily advance together in the way ahead.

On August 8, 1967, with the aspiration of enhance cooperation in the Southeast Asia, Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines signed the Bangkok Declaration which gave birth to ASEAN. After this event, Brunei and Vietnam were admitted to the bloc in 1984 and 1995, respectively. As soon as the country joins the regional playground, Vietnam, along with other member countries, to realise the dream of an ASEAN-10, consisting of all ten Southeast Asian countries with the admission of Laos and Myanmar (in 1997) and Cambodia (in 1999).

Since then, ASEAN member countries, which show the diversification of political systems, cultures, languages and development levels, have been linked together by common goals and destiny. In 2007, ASEAN added a new milestone on the occasion of its 40th anniversary by signing the ASEAN Charter, creating a profound change in quality and bringing ASEAN from a purely regional cooperation organisation to a legal entity. Notably, on December 31, 2015, the ASEAN Community based on three pillars of Politics – Security, Economics, Culture and Society were officially formed, opening a new chapter in the history of the association and bringing ASEAN cooperation to a new stage of development with an improved level of cooperation.

Over the past 50 years, ASEAN cooperation has gained numerous success, allowing the association to become a comprehensive regional cooperative organisation and an active and a dynamic political and economic entity which performes on the basis of the ASEAN Charter. ASEAN has also become an indispensable factor, which has significantly contributed to the peace and prosperity of the Southeast Asia and the world. This is the great goal and mission that the ASEAN community has been proud of and cherished as well as continue to strongly uphold in the coming time. Notably, despite being newly-established, ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has developed most dynamically in the Asia-Pacific region, creating a market of 630 million people with a gross domestic product of nearly US$3 trillion. The AEC is currently the leading economy in the world in terms of scale, investment attraction and number of internet users. With the growth rate of 4.7% per year, the AEC is attractive to all member countries and partners of the association. ASEAN has also occupied an important position that few sub-regional association are able to build. The association has not only promoted the intra-bloc linkage, but also created mechanisms to connect with major and important countries around the world. These are mechanisms related to the politic, security and defence, becoming the characteristics and the value of ASEAN in the region and the world.

Through numerous programmes, initiatives and specific measures, dialogue partners have increasingly attached importance and have actively boosted the multifaceted cooperation with ASEAN as well as pledged to continue to support ASEAN in building Community, enhancing the regional links, narrowing the development gap and addressing common regional and global challenges.

Over the past 22 years since it became an official member of ASEAN, Vietnam has been proud to be an important part in the ASEAN’s history and development as well as showing its goodwill, efforts, enthusiasm and responsibility, thus significantly contributing to the ASEAN’s common achievements. Vietnam has affirmed the voice of solidarity, unity and common sense of responsibility to effectively respond to the threats to the peace, security and stability of the region. The country has been working with ASEAN member countries to actively build the Community, seriously implementing commitments and proposed initiatives in many fields. Joining ASEAN, Vietnam has received numerous benefits and opportunities to step by step integrate into the region and the world, in order to enhance internal strengths, reforms, and promote the role and position of a responsible country in the international community. Vietnam’s 12th National Party Congress affirmed that the country always insists on considering ASEAN as a pillar and a strategic priority in Vietnam's foreign policy; as well as proactively, actively and responsibly work with ASEAN countries to build a strong Community.

In the way ahead, in the face of complicated and unpredictable regional and world situation, ASEAN should uphold the achievements that the association has gained and make efforts to overcome the obstacles and challenges that are ahead in order to firmly forge a future together. Accordingly, the most important task is the enhancement and consolidation of the solidarity and unity as well as the maintenance of its central role to create a new driving force and vitality for the association, brining practical benefits to the people, towards the goal of ‘a rules-based, people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN’, for the sake of establishing peace, stability, cooperation and development of the region and the world.

NHAN DAN