Leaders agree to intensify efforts towards ASEAN Community by 2015: official

A senior official of ASEAN Secretariat said here on Wednesday that leaders of 10 member nations of the Southeast Asian bloc agreed to reaffirm their commitment to intensify efforts in materializing ASEAN Community by 2015.

ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Lynn Nyan who spoke on the behalf of ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh conveyed the commitment that was made at a recent ASEAN leaders meeting held in Brunei.

Lynn said that in general, ASEAN has made progress with regard to the implementation of the ASEAN Community blueprint. He added that the leaders of the 10-nation bloc are encouraged by the enhanced progress in external relations as well as greater solidarity among the member states.

The achievements of the plan to establish a regional community, in which the integration of the economies of ASEAN member states is a key milestone, were reviewed at the recent ASEAN Summit, Lynn said in a statement released by the secretariat.

An average of 82.5 percent of all action lines towards the ASEAN Community 2015 have been completed or are being implemented. It represents 78 percent for the political security, 79.7 percent of economic and 90 percent of socio-cultural pillars, he added.

With little more than two years before 2015, the ASEAN Leaders also adopted the “Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on the ASEAN Community Post-2015 Vision” where they tasked relevant bodies to further articulate ASEAN’s vision of a community that is “not only politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible but also truly people-oriented, people centered, and rules-based.”

On the political side, Lynn said that ASEAN reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining peace and maritime security in the South China Sea and to resolve all disputes in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.

The Leaders of ASEAN called for restraint in the conduct of activities in South China Sea and to consult with China on the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct for all parties involved, Lynn said.

On economy issues, Lynn noted the steady growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the region as well as the flow of foreign direct investment to ASEAN in the last few years, and said that economic initiatives undertaken under the ASEAN Community Blueprint have already changed business landscape in the region through better economic opportunities.

Lynn added that with regard to the socio-cultural pillar, leaders welcomed a recommendation by ASEAN environment ministers to establish the ASEAN Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System to address trans-boundary haze pollution issues. At the summit, they also adopted declarations on non-communicable diseases and violence against women and children.

The ASEAN summit held in Brunei Darussalam capital of Bandar Seri Begawan also saw the turnover of ASEAN chairmanship to Myanmar from Brunei. Myanmar would assume ASEAN chairmanship from Jan. 1 next year.

Lynn said leaders of ASEAN were confident that Myanmar will be able to undertake leadership of ASEAN effectively. Myanmar set as the theme for its ASEAN chairmanship “Moving Forward in Unity Towards a Peaceful and Prosperous Community.”

SOURCE www.globaltimes.cn