|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (third from left) attends the 26th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday. He believes the region needed to develop a vision for post-2015 years. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
KUALA LUMPUR (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told the 26th ASEAN Summit meeting in Malaysia yesterday that 2015 would become a milestone in ASEAN's history, adding that it was important for the group to develop a vision for following years.
By the end of this year, an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will be formed to develop regional economic integration.
This will provide a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development fully integrated into the global economy.
The AEC will transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital.
The Prime Minister said the formation of the ASEAN Community was the result of continuous co-operation among member states over the past 50 years.
Underscoring the need to develop a post-2015 vision, the PM also called for initiatives to boost solidarity and the central role of ASEAN in maintaining peace, security and development in the region, as well as its leading role in the evolving regional architecture and in the settlement of regional issues.
The PM said ASEAN needed to promote discussion on coping with economic and security challenges, including non-traditional security matters. Concerned about current activities on the East Sea, he said it was important to use self-restraint so as to not complicate the situation.
He also called for settling disputes by peaceful means in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), towards the early formulation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
The summit attracted leaders from the 10 member states who hailed the completion of 93 per cent of required tasks to shape the ASEAN Community.
It called for accelerated efforts to work on a master plan for ASEAN connectivity and integration - and narrowing the development gap.
A high-level task force was asked to devise a draft vision to submit to the 27th ASEAN summit slated for November.
Participants also called for recommendations on improving the capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat and organs. They also agreed with a Laotian proposal to hold the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summit late next year.
They agreed that ASEAN should continue deepening ties with partners while re-inforcing internal solidarity and improving the efficiency of existing frameworks and mechanisms. This, they said, would contribute to regional peace, security, stability and development as well as effectively coping with traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
Malaysian Prime Minister Nazib Razak said respect for international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS must be a basis for regulations on interference in the East Sea. As chair of ASEAN, he said Malaysia hoped the region would soon make strides in achieving a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.
Hailing ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh's report on the progress of the agenda for the ASEAN Community, participants recognised the central role of the bloc. However, differences of opinion were heard on a proposed common time zone for the region, which will be discussed at the next ASEAN Summit.
On the sidelines, PM Dung met his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Tun Rajak, and President of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III.
Dung said Viet Nam gave priority to promoting co-operation in rice trading with Malaysia, suggesting the two sides consider signing a government-level agreement.
The Malaysian PM agreed, adding that Malaysia would ease any difficulties for Vietnamese labourers working in Malaysia.
During the meeting between PM Dung and Philippine President Aquino, the two leaders agreed to improve the efficiency of mechanisms between the two nations, including a joint bilateral co-operation committee at foreign ministerial level.
The two-day 26th ASEAN Summit, which concluded on Langkawi island, Malaysia, yesterday, adopted three key declarations.
They were the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on a People-Oriented, People-Centred ASEAN, the Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates, and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on institutionalising the resilience of ASEAN and its peoples to disasters and climate change. — VNS