20th ASEAN summit opens in Phnom Penh
PHNOM PENH, April 3, 2012
Leaders of the ten asean countries on Tuesday joined the inauguration of the two-day summit held for the first time in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the opening ceremony of the gathering which marked the 45th anniversary of the regional bloc.
Thailand’s PM Yingluck Shinawatra took this opportunity to condemn the use of violence in the car bomb attacks in Thailand's southern provinces of Yala and Songkhla over the weekend.
Ms Yingluck has proposed prioritising the steps to creation of a strong ASEAN Community, particularly the implementation of the three pillars -- political and security cooperation, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural cooperation.
Under political and security cooperation, she said, ASEAN should support measures to prevent regional terrorism and support the ideal of democracy. Now is the right time to show ASEAN's will with its Declaration on Human Rights.
Meanwhile, countries having nuclear weapons should be encouraged to sign the Protocol to the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty by 2012. There is also a need to create a drug-free zone and Thailand supported the ASEAN leaders in signing the drug free zone declaration and offered to host the ministerial meeting on illicit drug suppression.
On economic cooperation, ASEAN should join forces on the way to create free trade zone that would support direct investment among ASEAN and hoped that Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) could be concluded in accordance with its plan.
On socio-cultural cooperation, she said, more cooperation was needed to tackle transboundary haze. As for the natural disaster management, Ms Yingluck proposed building a community network to manage disaster which stronger cooperation in the region in terms of technology, science could help support the network.
The premier stressed the importance of ASEAN Connectivity to link countries inside the regional bloc with those outside ASEAN to create a competitive regional grouping.
The summit will conclude Thursday and, according to the Cambodian foreign ministry, the leaders are expected to adopt documents, including the Phnom Penh Declaration on ASEAN: One Community, One Destiny; the ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on a Drug Free ASEAN 2015, and a Concept Paper on the Global Movement of Moderates.
To celebrate the regional's body's 45th anniversary, the body will issue a "Chairman's Statement on the 45th anniversary of ASEAN: The Way Forward."