The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will celebrate
its 45th founding anniversary on August 8. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan
Dung on August 7 delivered a televised speech on this occasion.
The following is the full text of the statement:
Today, we join other Governments and people of ASEAN member countries in celebrating
the 45th anniversary of the foundation of ASEAN. This is a special
milestone for ASEAN, marking a path of growth and maturity with admirable achievements.
Following four and a half decades of continued expansion of cooperation and promotion of integration,
ASEAN has forged an important standing in the region and the world with
recognised credit for its positive contributions to peace, stability,
cooperation and development in Southeast Asia and the Asia - Pacific.
In the advent of the ASEAN Community, the Association has been making
strong moves with great efforts to strengthen cooperation and integration within ASEAN in the political-security, economic and cultural – social pillars. On top of that are efforts to narrow the development gap while expanding and upgrading multi-sided, mutually beneficial cooperation with outside partners, including major powers and centres of the world. ASEAN has played its central role in leading important dialogue and cooperation
processes, such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN
Regional Forum (ARF) etc. It has been the main driver to promote
regional cooperation and connectivity in East Asia.
The main factor that makes ASEAN’s standing and visibility is its
capacity to maintain the “unity in diversity” and create synergy from
the unity, solidarity and the “ ASEAN Way ”. ASEAN has always promoted
consensus, mutual respect and assistance, focusing on and harmonising
national interest with that of the whole community. The power of ASEAN
unity has been tested as it sailed through the 1997 – 1998 financial
crisis, working together and sharing with one another in overcoming the
consequences of natural disasters and pandemics affecting the region.
Solidarity and unity are also key to the prestige and credibility of
ASEAN in its relations with outside partners.
The past 45 years also witnessed ASEAN’s initiative, creativeness and
adaptability in facing new developments in the region and the world.
Peace, stability, security and development in the region would have been
impossible without ASEAN’ positive contributions. The Association has
adopted many important Documents, such as the Treaty on Amity and Cooperation
(TAC), Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ), ARF Vision
Statement 2020, Roadmap for an ASEAN Community by 2015, ASEAN Charter
and so on.
ASEAN has always attached importance to the furtherance of its cooperation with partners via the establishment of ASEAN-led regional mechanisms and cooperation forums such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, EAS, ARF etc. ASEAN centrality
has been promoted thanks to its ability to reconcile, connect and
balance concerns and interest in order to work together on building an
environment of peace, stability and cooperation in the region as well as
supporting efforts for connectivity and development. This is an
important element that helps an organisation modest in size with a
concert of small and medium countries to become a centre of gravity attracting partners, big and small, within and outside the region actively engaged in the processes of dialogue and cooperation in the Asia – Pacific.
Formidable changes have been seen in the region and the world and in
ASEAN itself in the past 45 years. However, what remain unchanged and
need to be preserved and promoted in the new context are ASEAN’s norms,
principles, ways of doing things and particularities. To achieve the
ASEAN Community by 2015, ASEAN needs to observe with flexibility and
skills the following principles and guidelines:
First, remain one-minded in resolve and take strong actions to complete on schedule with quality cooperation plans in all political – security, economic, cultural-social
pillars in the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community. Continue to intensify
ASEAN connectivity, promote equitable, sustainable development and
narrow the development gap. Strengthen actions on and raise the awareness about the building of a caring Community among regional Governments and people.
Second, firmly maintain the fundamental principles, stay united
and unanimous while being proactive and creative in settling emerging
issues in the new development stage, especially challenges to peace,
stability, security and development in the region. Continue to promote
dialogue on building and sharing codes of conducts and conflict
prevention. Strictly deliver on the commitments included in such
documents as the TAC, SEANWFZ, Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in
the East Sea (DOC) etc. Settle peacefully all disputes and differences
on the basis of international law and the ASEAN spirit of solidarity.
Third, continually expand comprehensive cooperation
with outside partners and be proactive in engaging them in the
endeavours for peace, stability and development in the region as well as
in supporting the process of community building, deepened integration and connectivity, and response to emerging challenges. To maintain ASEAN’s centrality
in the region, the Association needs to strengthen unity, maintain a
common position and voice on regional and international issues of common
concern and interest of partners and ASEAN.
Significant obstacles and challenges are awaiting ASEAN on its journey
ahead. However, ASEAN has the common desire and interest in maintaining
an environment of peace, stability for shared development and the
experience and maturity earned in the past 45 years. It has the spirit
of solidarity and ability to adopt flexible responses. This gives us the
ground to solidly believe in the success of ASEAN in achieving its goal
regardless of obstacles and challenges.
past 17 years, as an ASEAN member and at the new development stage of
the Association, Vietnam always remains active, proactive and acts
responsibly in contributing to the making of a strong, united, integrated
ASEAN with an increasing role and position in the region and the world
for the prosperous development of its member countries, peace, stability
and cooperation in the region. ASEAN has been and will be an important
pillar in Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, sovereignty,
diversification and multilateralisation of international relations.
On the occasion of ASEAN’s 45th anniversary, on behalf of the
Vietnamese Government and people, I would like to extend my best wishes
to the Governments and people of other member countries in the ASEAN
family and of partners of ASEAN.
May ASEAN continue to see
sustained growth and greater successes given the remarkable
achievements recorded in the past 45 years and deliver a life of peace,
wellbeing and prosperity for all people in the region./.VNA