ASEAN asserts its position in the region and in the international arena

Saturday, 2020-08-08 12:04:42
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The flag hoisting ceremony held in Hanoi on August 7, 2020 to mark the 53rd founding anniversary of ASEAN (Photo: MOFA)
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NDO - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was officially established on August 8, 1967, opening a new page in the region’s integration process. Over its 53 years of development, ASEAN has become a united community with an increasing reputation in the region and the world at large, while bringing practical benefits to its member countries.

Starting with only five members, ASEAN has gradually developed into an organisation of comprehensive and solid cooperation, embracing 10 Southeast Asian countries. The ASEAN Community was officially formed on December 31, 2015, marking a historic milestone in the ASEAN integration process.

The formation of the ASEAN Community was an event of significant importance to the Association as well as its member countries, turning the bloc into a more closely knitted organization with an increasingly important role in the region.

Over a half century since its establishment and with all its developmental and historical ups and downs, ASEAN has made many remarkable achievements. ASEAN has a complete organisational apparatus, streamlining from high level to ministerial level, senior officials and working groups.

Regarding politics and security, the ASEAN Political - Security Community has maintained a close level of cooperation with many important strides in building trust, sharing common standards of conduct, preventing and managing conflicts and raising the capacity of addressing security challenges.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is basically an economic space free of tariffs which allows the free movement of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labour.

In terms of socio-culture, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community provides a framework for close cooperation which helps to promote equality and social equity, protect the environment and respond to climate change, improve the lives of the people and raise awareness of both the ASEAN Community and its common identity.

Besides achievements in building the ASEAN Community, the bloc has affirmed its position as one of the most successful regional cooperation organisations in the world. ASEAN is the most important factor in ensuring peace, stability and cooperation for regional development.

This is the result of efforts in strengthening intra-bloc connectivity, political-security cooperation, and conflict prevention through building trust and sharing common codes of conduct.

The association has also successfully initiated and played a leading role in regional forums and mechanisms, and joined partners to enhance dialogue and cooperation in dealing with challenges to peace, security and development.

In addition, ASEAN plays a crucial role as the main driver in fostering regional cooperation and integration, particularly in terms of economic and trade links. Along with the building of the ASEAN Economic Community, the Association has proactively taken the lead in forming a network of free trade agreements with important partners such as China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

ASEAN has spearheaded many economic and trade cooperation programmes with major partners including the US, Canada, the European Union and Russia. It is also conducting negotiations with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Thanks to persistent efforts to expand relations with the international community over the past 53 years, ASEAN has become an important partner of many countries as well as regional and international organisations.

All partners attach importance to their relations with ASEAN, promote their comprehensive cooperation with the bloc both multilaterally and bilaterally while assisting the association in building the community and further advocating its centrality in the region.

Up until now, 93 foreign countries have sent ambassadors to ASEAN. The association has also established 54 ASEAN committees in partner countries and international organisations.

With a determination to ensure sustainable development for the benefit of generations and placing the happiness and well-being of the people at the centre of the Community building process, ASEAN has made major strides in its developmental process, which has seen the continuing bold and productive presence of Vietnam - an active, proactive and responsible member.