35th ASEAN Summit opens in Thailand


By Habib Toumi

Bangkok: The 35th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officially began on Sunday morning at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre in the Thai capital.

Thailand’s Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha chaired the plenary session attended by the ASEAN leaders from the 10 members states.

According to ASEAN site, the meeting discussed means to build a stronger ASEAN Community that is people-centered, leaves no one behind, and looks to the future.

ASEAN Leaders also exchanged views on the future of ASEAN under the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” to enhance sustainability within the region in all dimensions.

The biannual gathering of the leaders of the ASEAN will also include the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit, the 16th ASEAN-India Summit, the 14th ASEAN-East Asia Summit (EAS), the 10th ASEAN-United Nation (UN) Summit, the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit, and the third Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) meeting.

The ASEAN leaders will review the ASEAN Community Agenda following the establishment of the ASEAN Community and endorsement of ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together (ASEAN Vision 2025) in 2019.

The summit is the second to be hosted this year by Thailand, the ASEAN Chair.

The chairmanship rotates annually based on the alphabetical order. Vietnam will next year host the ASEAN summits.

ASEAN, founded in 1967, comprises founders Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as well as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

The regional bloc has a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion, a population of 650 million, and a land mass covering more than 1.7 million square miles.

ASEAN was founded on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok by five neighboring countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

The Bangkok Declaration which set in motion the establishment of the regional organization said ASEAN represented “the collective will of the nations of Southeast Asia to bind themselves together in friendship and cooperation and through joint efforts and sacrifices, secure for their peoples and for the posterity the blessings of peace, freedom and posterity.”

Brunei Darussalam joined on January 7, 1984, Viet Nam on July 28, 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on July 23, 1997, and Cambodia on April 30, 1999.

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