Cambodia is hosting this regular meeting of ASEAN leaders for the first time and as the situation in the region has been basically stable, security and the political environment has been ensured, and there are positive signs of economic recovery. ASEAN members continue to promote their achievements gained over the last two years, striving to build a strong, united and closely connected ASEAN community, and further enhance their positions, voices, roles and status in the region as well as the international arena.
ASEAN marks its 45th anniversary this year (August 8, 1967 – 2012), providing a significant opportunity for member nations to review the ups and downs of the association’s history, establishment and development along the road to becoming the closely connected bloc it is today.
Now more than ever, ASEAN countries are striving to strengthen co-operation within and outside the bloc to realise the target of building the ASEAN community by 2015, affirming the association’s position and strength and central role in the momentum and structure of regional co-operation.
The year 2008 marked a historical milestone in the association’s development when the ASEAN Charter was signed by ten member nations, thereby turning the bloc’s principles and purposes into specific regulations that make ASEAN agreements and decisions more realistic.
ASEAN, with a total population of approximately 580 million, over US$2,500 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and more than US$1,000 billion in total export value, is an attractive market for trade partners.
The co-operation between ASEAN and its main partners has achieved results that match the interests of all sides.
The organisation continues to follow an open foreign policy and deepen relations with partners through the frameworks of the ASEAN+1 Summit with China; ASEAN+3 Summit with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK); East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), creating conditions for partners to actively participate in and constructively contribute to regional peace, security, co-operation and development, as well as supporting ASEAN’s priorities and focus.
ASEAN partners continue to attach importance to enhancing co-operation with the association, affirming their support for building the ASEAN community and its key role in regional co-operation frameworks and mechanisms.
Promoting the achievements of previous summits, regional leaders at the 20th ASEAN Summit will discuss accelerating co-operation and building the ASEAN community according to the agreed roadmap, strengthening connectivity, and boosting co-operation between the association and its partners, as well as regional and international issues of common concern.
They will also focus on the resources necessary for implementing signed agreements, as well as their feasibility and effectiveness of their implementation.
The delegates will also discuss ways to enhance co-ordination among the three pillars of the ASEAN Political-Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, as well as the role of the ASEAN Coordinating Council.
Vietnam has made important strides since becoming a full ASEAN member on July 28, 1995 and has positively contributed to all fields of co-operation within the association.
Vietnam successfully fulfilled its ASEAN chairmanship in 2010, which was appreciated by regional and international leaders as well as delegates and the community, marking the country’s significant development during its renovation process, as well as its regional and global integration.
Vietnam’s efforts and contributions to ASEAN’s development reaffirm its consistent policy to attach importance to ASEAN, both bilaterally and multi-laterally, and strive towards achieving a strong, united ASEAN with closer connectivity.
As an active and responsible member, Vietnam will promote ASEAN’s achievements over the last two years and make positive contributions to the association’s issues and interests.
Building the ASEAN community by 2015 is the association’s key task and the deadline is growing closer. Therefore, all member nations should overcome their challenges and, especially, narrow the development gap to promote equal and sustainable development in the region.
May the 20th ASEAN Summit be successful, responding to the interests of ASEAN community members, promoting the association’s role and position, and ensuring an a favourable environment and conditions among member countries, as well as between the association and its partners, to promote peace, stability, co-operation and development in the region and the world.