|ASEAN General Secretary Ong Keng Yong|
Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ong Keng Yong said he wants the celebration of the grouping's 40th anniversary in August this year to focus more on enhancing people-to-people ties and community building.
The current important agenda for the grouping is economic integration and achieving the vision of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. But for this year's celebrations, Secretary General Ong wants focus on more aspects of cooperation.
"So far we have always seen ASEAN in the political, security and economic integrating dimensions. But in terms of art and culture, in terms of education, healthcare and public understanding of our own history, there are still plenty of areas to work on.
"We want to take the 40th anniversary celebrations to highlight some of these areas that we have not given enough attention to in the past and hopefully we can bring more people to the ASEAN agenda," Ong was quoted by Singapore's Channel NewsAsia as saying.
During Singapore's tenure as chairman of the grouping, scheduled to begin August this year, three important meetings are set to take place, including the ASEAN-US Summit in September, ASEAN's commemorative dialogue with the leaders of the European Union in November and the 10th anniversary of ASEAN's dialogue with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.-