On the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Aug. 8, 1967 - Aug. 8, 2008), Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday delivered an important speech highlighting the role of ASEAN in the region and the world.
PM Nguyen Tan Dung
Below is an excerpt from his speech.
Experiencing many ups and downs and overcoming a lot of challenges, ASEAN has now become a comprehensive regional cooperative organization comprising 10 Southeast Asian countries with its fundamental changes. It is a united and dynamic economic-political entity that is playing a significant role in the region. It is also an indispensable partner to other countries and large unions in the world.
ASEAN is moving to a new development stage with its aim to establish the ASEAN Community in 2015 based on the ASEAN Charter. The ASEAN Community, with its three development focuses being politics-security, economics and culture-society, has an ultimate goal to build ASEAN into an inter-governmental organization which is more united and powerful but still creates opportunities for cooperation from outside. It also operates towards serving and improving the lives of the people in the region.
The aim to establish the ASEAN Community and the adoption of the ASEAN Charter reflect the bloc’s maturity and show the vision of its members, particularly in developing ASEAN into a bloc that is more united and more legally binding.
Stepping up the establishment of ASEAN Community and putting the ASEAN Charter into practice is the focus of cooperation among the ASEAN members in years to come.
The key factor for ASEAN’s success in its new stage is that the bloc needs to strengthen common efforts to ensure a peaceful, stable and cooperative environment in the region in accordance with the ASEAN’s goals and principles stated in the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and in the ASEAN Charter.
ASEAN members needs to continue to try their best to consolidate unity and solidarity, strengthen friendship and community consciousness, speed up cooperation, and deal with differences by peaceful measures. At the same time, ASEAN needs to maintain its decisive role in regional issues, to step up dialogue processes and cooperation in the region, and to make it easy for outside partners to take part in dealing with challenges to the peace, security and development of the South East Asia and Asia Pacific areas.
ASEAN, with its specific measures and adequate resources, must accelerate the programs and action plans for the building of the ASEAN Community. Particularly, ASEAN needs to take practical measures to rapidly narrow development gaps among different members.
An important task to do first is to put the ASEAN Charter into practice soon.
Viet Nam is an organic part of ASEAN and is a responsible member of the ASEAN family. The Southeast Asia and ASEAN are of strategic significance to Viet Nam, since they are directly related to the country’s security and development environment. An ASEAN that is closely united and close-knit and has an important international role and position is completely in line with Viet Nam’s basic and long-term interests. Therefore, we always consider ASEAN, in terms of both bilateral and multilateral cooperation, an important part of Viet Nam’s foreign policy that is independent, multilateralized, diversified, good-neighborly and friendly.
Since joining ASEAN in July 1995, Viet Nam has been actively participating in and making significant contributions to the development and growth of the bloc.
Entering the new stage, we, along with other ASEAN members, need to continue participating in and contributing to the successful building of the ASEAN Community on the basis of the ASEAN Charter.