VIENTIANE — The 28th and 29th summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related summits on Sept 8 concluded, with the 10-nation bloc and all its partners eyeing more concrete moves in the future to realize the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
Under the theme of “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community,” it was the first gathering of the ASEAN leaders since the establishment of the ASEAN Community in late 2015, with a total of 12 summits held within ASEAN nations and between ASEAN and its dialogue and external partners.
During the summits, the ASEAN leaders signed the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region and other outcome documents aimed at implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
Meanwhile, ASEAN and its dialogue partners agreed to enhance cooperation in all areas to ensure more efficiency and effectiveness, particularly in cooperation in trade, investment, connectivity, tourism, people-to-people exchange and others, based on mutual benefit.
ASEAN and China, meanwhile, also issued their joint statements after their summit, reaffirming their respect of freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea under principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
During a closing ceremony of the summits, Laos handed over its ASEAN chairmanship to the Philippines, which will hold the summits in 2017, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the 10-nation bloc.
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said in a news conference after the ceremony that the ASEAN Community will continue to gain new achievements on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addressed at the closing ceremony that during his country’s chairmanship, the Philippines will highlight ASEAN as a model of regionalism and a global player with the interests of the people of the bloc, adding that ASEAN will pursue initiatives and enhance cooperation with global partners to ensure ASEAN citizens live in peace, stability, security and growth.
The next round of ASEAN summits will be under the theme of “Partnering for Changes, Engaging the World.”