Vietnam takes big ASEAN role

09:27 | 19/11/2012
The appointment of veteran diplomat Le Luong Minh to be the fifth ASEAN general secretary has underscored Vietnam’s increasing role in building a strong and united ASEAN.

ASEAN members aim to build an ASEAN Community by 2015

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung led a high-level delegation to Phnom Penh to attend the 21st ASEAN Summit and related meetings during November 17-20 which will see Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Luong Minh, start a five-year term, replacing Thailand’s Surin Pitsuwan.
Born in 1952, Minh used to be Vietnam’s Ambassador to the United Nations between January 2004 and June 2011. He became a deputy minister of foreign affairs in December, 2008 and has extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MoFA) ASEAN Department stated that the Vietnamese delegation would join the event under Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship with a “proactive, active and responsible” spirit. “This will enhance Vietnam’s role and position regionally and internationally, and further rivet the country’s bilateral ties with partners,” said the department’s head Nguyen Tien Minh.

The 21st ASEAN Summit and related summits are focused on boosting the construction of ASEAN Community and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, expanding ASEAN’s external relations, keeping the association’s solidarity and central role in solving issues concerning the region’s stability.

Nguyen Tien Minh said the ASEAN Community would be officially formed by January 1, 2015 and would gradually be improved. At present, 70 per cent of work for establishing the community had been completed.

“Meanwhile, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity - including connectivity in roads, sea and air routes, and human connectivity like cultural exchanges and sports - has had 41 per cent of work  completed,” he noted.

The 21st ASEAN Summit will feature participation by all ASEAN leaders and ASEAN’s dialogue partners including newly re-elected US President Barack Obama,  Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

The summits include the 11th Meeting of the ASEAN Coordinating Council, ASEAN-21 Summit, ASEAN+1 meetings with China, Japan, South Korea, the US and India, and ASEAN+3 meeting with China, South Korea and Japan, and East Asia Summit which is the most important event.

By Khoi Nguyen

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