On the 44th founding anniversary of ASEAN, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh wrote an article, highlighting the blocâ€™s formation and development over the past four decades as well as Vietnamâ€™s positive contribution to its development.
The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) would like to carry an excerpt of the article.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is celebrating its 44th founding anniversary on August 8, 2011. The formation and development of ASEAN over the past four decades is the story of a group of small and medium sized Southeast Asian nations on their way to overcoming hindrances through the ups and downs of history to become one of the most successful regional organisations in terms of peace, stability and development.
After 44 years, ASEAN is entering a decisive and important period in becoming a community based on solidarity, strength and connectivity, with regard to politics, economics and culture, by 2015, which is seen as a higher development step in the blocâ€™s cooperation and connectivity for regional peace, stability, prosperous development, and in expanding international cooperation and playing an increasing role on the world stage.
Minister Pham Binh Minh stressed ASEANâ€™s determination to building a Community by January 1, 2015, in the face of little time and various current challenges.
The minister pointed out the importance of promoting international cooperation in bringing into play ASEANâ€™s central role in the region, emphasising that ASEANâ€™s external relations, particularly with its 10 main partners, has been expanded and upgraded into strategic and comprehensive partnerships.
As an ASEAN member for 16 years, Vietnam advocates building a community of strength, solidarity and close connectivity for the countryâ€™s long-term and strategic benefits and for immense benefits of all parties involved in the communityâ€™s success. To this extent, Vietnam has actively contributed to the forming and implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) for the 2004-2009 period, the ASEAN Charter, the master plans to build the three pillars of the ASEAN Community, and the IAI Work Plan for Narrowing the Development Gap within ASEAN as part of the roadmap for building an ASEAN Community by 2015.
Having taken the ASEAN Chair in 2010, Vietnam actively helped guide ASEAN members in turning vision into action with regard to implementing a roadmap for the building of an ASEAN Community, further expanding and deepening relations with partners and consolidating ASEANâ€™s central role in the region while increasing the associationâ€™s capability to cope with emerging challenges.
Vietnam also hosted a number of successful conferences in 2010 including the 16th ASEAN Summit (April 2010), the 43rd ASEAN Foreign Ministerial Meeting (July 2010), the 17th ASEAN Summit (October 2010).
As ASEAN Chair, Vietnam helped consolidate ASEAN principles, regulations and operating modes, enhancing solidarity in settling differences among ASEAN members via peaceful dialogue conducted in the spirit of friendship and the ASEAN Charter.
Based on such a spirit, from now until 2015, Vietnam will focus on the following major priorities:
Firstly, proactively promote and propose sound orientations and decisions in order to consolidate solidarity and enhance regional cooperation and connectivity to further expand and deepen the relationship between ASEAN and its partners to maintain its central role in the existing cooperation and dialogue process and in the evolving architecture in the region.
Secondly, actively raise ASEANâ€™s important role in promoting dialogue and cooperation, building confidence based on peace, security to prevent conflict and peacefully settle disputes.
Thirdly, pay due attention and allocate proper resources to fully implementing agreements and commitments regarding the Roadmap for building an ASEAN Community, ensuring the effective and timely fulfilment of set targets while assisting ASEAN settle and cope with existing challenges.
Finally, in order to implement all the above tasks successfully, it is necessary for relevant ministries, branches, agencies and cadres to understand the importance of ASEAN in terms of cooperation and connectivity and actively popularize ASEAN cooperation and connectivity benefits among the people./.