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|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the plenary session of the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 22 (Photo: VNA)|
The event, chaired by Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, took place amidst many changes in the world and the region, including growing protectionism, increasing competition among big countries, and the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) on all aspects. In terms of politics – security, the leaders affirmed the need to maintain sustainable security basing on the basic principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), ensuring the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s central role and making orientations for the treatment of external partners on the basis of the documents on the ASEAN’s vision on the Indo-Pacific, enhancing strategic trust and cooperation to cope with trans-national challenges, especially cyber security and border management.
Regarding economic issues, the leaders agreed to further promote intra-bloc trade and a seamless ASEAN, enhance connectivity, implement the ASEAN Single Window mechanism and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, foster the digital economy and a digitalised ASEAN, and actively prepare for Industry 4.0. They also agreed to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019.
|A view of the plenum of the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok on June 22 (Photo: VNA)|
On social and cultural matters, they decided to choose 2019 as the ASEAN Cultural Year to enhance cultural exchanges and promote the cultural identities of the grouping. The member countries will together build a sustainable, people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN Community that looks towards the future and leaves no one behind; promote the mutual support between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and cooperate to deal with marine waste and aging population.
As Vietnam will assume the ASEAN Chair next year, PM Phuc delivered a speech at the plenum, highly evaluating the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” and the priorities proposed by Thailand during its ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019.
He emphasised that the ASEAN needs to give the top priorities to continuing to strengthen its solidarity and cohesion, and promoting the central role and the efficiency of ASEAN-chaired and -led regional mechanisms.
The bloc should foster intra-economic linkages, make use of the already-made commitments and signed agreements, soon conclude the RCEP talks, create a favourable business environment, improve the capacity of responding to Industry 4.0’s opportunities and challenges, and connect and develop Industry 4.0 technological centre networks.
The Vietnamese PM also proposed the ASEAN to continue enhancing cooperation in the fields that will bring practical benefits to the people, accelerate institutional reforms, and improve the efficiency of the bloc’s apparatus.
The summit adopted the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019, and the Bangkok Declaration on fighting maritime waste in the region.