Updated  
September, 25 2013 08:33:00

Singapore's PM eyes ASEAN goal

Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.— Photo Getty

SINGAPORE (VNS)— Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, has agreed that by the end of 2015, the 10 ASEAN nations will achieve their aim of becoming one community.*

However, he also agreed with journalists that a considerable development gap could still exist between old and new members.

Talking about Singapore's contributions to reducing this gap, PM Lee said in countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Viet Nam had growth rates were generally higher than in the more developed parts of ASEAN.

The Singaporean PM was addressing media men participating at the sixth ASEAN Journalists Visit Programme which took place in the Garden City from September 16 to 22.

Lee said that in terms of development, Singapore had the Initiative for ASEAN Integration, human-resource development programmes, technical co-operation programmes where officials from new ASEAN members get exposed in Singapore to its departments, how things are done - and pick up ideas which they can implement back home.

"And I think that that is probably the most effective way Singapore can help the new countries develop their economies."

Asked if the deadline for the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015, was achievable, he said: "From what our officials tell me, I think on the economic community side, we have 80-85 per cent of the work done. I don't think that we will reach 100 per cent of the things which we have sketched out for 2015, but we will reach the bulk of it.".

PM Lee, who has just spent three days in Viet Nam at the launch of a Strategic Partnership agreement between Singapore and Viet Nam, said: "This sets out the areas where we can co-operate together – economic, educational, cultural, social, human resources development, including political co-operation .

During the visit, he visited central Quang Ngai Province, where work began on the fifth Viet Nam-Singapore Industrial Park Project.

"I was told it was one of the least affluent parts of the country, but there is potential because there is land, you have hydrocarbons with gas and oil there. You have workers, people willing to work and we are building an industrial park there. I think the investments will come and the jobs will be created. And the development will follow. So I think that I am optimistic on Viet Nam."

* ASEAN, the regional economic and political bloc, plans to play a central role as an emerging hub in the Asia-Pacific. By 2015 it envisions an ASEAN Economnic Community with a single market and distribution base. According to an annual report released by ASEAN, the 10 member states are on track to achieve integration of their economies by 2015. Its secretary general Le Luong Minh noted that economically, ASEAN had already implemented nearly 80 per cent of the measures in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint. — VNS

Send Us Your Comments:
Name:
Your E-mail address:
Title:
 

VietNamNews may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.

Highlight

Woman steps up in fight to tackle drugs 2    Woman steps up in fight to tackle drugs

Since for Le Thi Nga "to live is to give," she thought nothing about joining the neighbourhood watch in her fourth quarter in District 1's Cau Kho Ward in 2009.

Tan Son Nhat Airport on verge of overloading 1    Tan Son Nhat Airport on verge of overloading

HCM City's Tan Son Nhat Airport will be stretched beyond capacity in the next two years, making construction of the new Long Thanh airport in Dong Nai Province more urgent than ever, experts warn.

BIDV teams up with Japanese banks to facilitate investment BIDV teams up with Japanese banks to facilitate investment

The Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two Japanese banks, namely Minato Bank and the Bank of Yokohama (BOY).

My Lai survivor writes book 1    My Lai survivor writes book

Pham Thanh Cong, 57, was one of only a dozen survivors of 1968's infamous My Lai massacre. More than four decades later, he has written a book about the mass murder, in which American soldiers killed 504 unarmed civilians.

Imported brews, grub at Ha Noi's Oktoberfest 1    Imported brews, grub at Ha Noi's Oktoberfest

A celebration of Germany's Oktoberfest will be held in Ha Noi on Thursday and Friday.