ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Vietnamese Prime Minister highlights Asean
"ASEAN is the most important element that is responsible for maintaining peace, security and co-operation for development in the region," he said in his opening speech. The PM added that the bloc was the driving force that promoted co-operation and relations in East Asia, particularly in economics and trade.
With its strategic geographical position in the region as well as its open policies, ASEAN had become an indispensable partner to major countries and centres around the world, he stressed. In his speech, Dung recalled the association's unceasing developments during the past 43 years and affirmed the bloc's important role in contributing to peace, stability, mutual understanding and trust in the region.
To further enhance regional co-operation in the future, the PM said ASEAN needed to continue to maintain regional peace and security, while appropriately dealing with latent risks that might cause unrest.
Regarding economic integration, Dung said the effective implementation of existing agreements were crucial to the future success of the organisation. Therefore, relevant countries needed to be committed to liberalising their markets and continue to remove projectionist barriers that would impede the region's economic integration.
At the occasion, ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan spoke highly of Viet Nam's contributions to ASEAN.
Viet Nam had shown that ASEAN was an important element to the country's foreign policy, and the nation had illustrated its dedication to raising the bloc's prestige and position on the international arena this year, the ASEAN chief said.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has 10 member countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
A sports exchange among ASEAN countries was organised on Saturday in Ha Noi to celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN and the 15th year of Viet Nam's ASEAN membership. Officials and staff from the embassies of ASEAN countries and Vietnamese ministries and departments competed in tennis, badminton, table tennis and football in a friendly atmosphere, which illustrated the solidarity among the organisation's members.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dao Viet Trung said the event was also a chance for Viet Nam to strengthen its relations and learn from ASEAN nations.
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