Viet Nam attends ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting
On addressing the opening meeting, Cambodia ’s Prime Minister Hun Sen said that after 45 years, ASEAN has become a closely-integrated political and economic entity, an influential player in Asia and an indispensable strategic partner of several major countries and global organisations.
ASEAN’s numerous achievements underline the strong commitment and political will of its members to continue to work closely together, in a spirit of unity and solidarity, friendship and cooperation, said the Cambodian PM.
That spirit has been confirmed with the theme ‘ASEAN: One Community, One Destiny,’ chosen by Cambodia as ASEAN Chair for 2012, he added.
However, he said, despite these achievements, ASEAN still continues to face a number of challenges both globally and regionally, such as the economic difficulties in major economies, the prolonged debt crisis in Europe, food and energy security, climate change, terrorism and trans-national crimes.
These challenges threaten the sustainability of ASEAN’s socio-economic development, achieved over the last 45 years and the efforts being made to build an ASEAN Community by 2015, he said.
He highlighted ASEAN FMs’ significant coordinating role in shaping the ASEAN Community, especially in settling issues relating to security, political cooperation and ASEAN’s external relationships.
PM Hun Sen used the occasion to call on ASEAN’s FMs to focus on realising the ASEAN Community by 2015 and ASEAN Charter.
He said that maintaining regional peace and security is essential for the bloc to prosper and develop. ASEAN needs to speed up the negotiations and cooperate on security and political matters to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
ASEAN should use all its current mechanisms to ensure regional security and peace such as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia; the Southeast Asian Treaty on a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone; the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea; the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus.
PM Hun Sen stressed that together with the UK and the European Union, the inclusion of other non-ASEAN countries into the TAC will highlight the treaty’s significance.
He underlined the necessity of implementing the DOC to finalise the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
ASEAN’s FMs sat down for business right after the opening ceremony and are scheduled to move to a private retreat on the afternoon of July 9.
There, they will discuss speeding up the creation of an ASEAN Community by 2015; the ASEAN-China talks on drawing up the COC; cooperation between ASEAN and its partners within the framework of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty; increased cooperation on ASEAN development issues to 2015 and a drug free ASEAN Community.
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