ASEAN: An important factor in maintaining peace and prosperity in region

Update: 09:24 | 15/08/2017
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), diplomats have shared their point of views on the role of ASEAN and relations between ASEAN and its partners.
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asean an important factor in maintaining peace and prosperity in region
Logo of the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (Photo:

Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Hong Xiaoyong: Bringing China-ASEAN relations to a new level

Over the past 50 years, ASEAN has pursued independent, neutral and non-aligned foreign policy and has endeavoured to strengthen intra-regional solidarity and resolve regional disputes. ASEAN has sought to promote the Southeast Asia region from instability to stability, from antagonism to cooperation, from poverty to prosperity, thus becoming a model of cohesion and self-reliance among nations not of the same social regime and developmental status.

In addition, the ASEAN Community was officially established in 2015. Amid the slow global economic recovery and the stronger "subterranean wave" of anti-globalisation, the strong development of ASEAN brings about positive energy to the process of regional integration and globalisation.

asean an important factor in maintaining peace and prosperity in region
Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Hong Xiaoyong. (Photo: VGP)

ASEAN has established its central role in East Asian regional cooperation. ASEAN countries, China and other international and regional organisations have established dialogue partnerships and gradually formed a network of East Asian cooperation with the nucleus of ASEAN.

Many regional cooperation mechanisms such as ASEAN+3, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and others have developed strongly and have promoted each other.  "ASEAN modes" such as unanimous agreement, consideration of interests of parties, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs has become the essential codes of conduct for cooperation in East Asia region.

As an important member of ASEAN, Vietnam has great development prospects. China always supports the process of building and connecting the ASEAN Community and hopes that the Vietnamese side will make positive and constructive contributions to boosting the building of the ASEAN Community, further constructing dialogue with all partners, along with China.

ASEAN is a priority of China's foreign policy towards neighbouring countries. Since China and ASEAN established their dialogue relations in 1991, the political trust between the two sides have been increasingly strengthened and the substantial cooperation has reaped many achievements.  The bilateral relationship between ASEAN and China has become a dynamic relation and has grown to be the most diversified content in the relations between ASEAN and its dialogue partners.

The two sides will commemorate the 15th anniversary of China-ASEAN strategic partnership next year and China is ready to join with ASEAN countries to promote the China-ASEAN relations to new heights.

The Chinese side proposes to link the "Belt and Road" initiative to development planning such as the ASEAN Connectivity Master Plan 2025 and proposed 2018 to be the "Year of China-ASEAN Renewal" to jointly build the China-ASEAN strategic partnership to a new level.

China and Vietnam have cooperated well within the framework of East Asia cooperation and the two sides expect to promote the cooperation in East Asia in a depth manner.

Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio: Evaluating Vietnam's contributions to peace and prosperity in the region

asean an important factor in maintaining peace and prosperity in region
Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio. (Photo: Vietnam Economic Times)

ASEAN is an association that plays a "central role in East Asian regional cooperation" through important activities such as the organisation of the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN+3, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). In terms of politics and security, ASEAN occupies a key position in linking the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, and member states have made efforts to form the ASEAN Community on the basis of common rules.

Economically, over the past 10 years, the GDP of the whole bloc has maintained a high growth, contributing to turning ASEAN into the world's economic growth hub. Peace and prosperity of ASEAN is directly linked to the peace and prosperity of East Asia and the whole international community.

After Vietnam's accession to ASEAN in 1995, the country has maintained political stability and achieved steady economic growth as well as increasing its role in the bloc.  Vietnam has always emphasised its consistent stance on ASEAN's "unity" and "central role" and on refraining from the use of force in addition to the importance of "respect for law" in the international community. Japan values Vietnam's contributions to peace and prosperity in the region. Japan will strengthen cooperation with Vietnam, which shares many strategic interests and fundamental values with Japan.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Japan-ASEAN relations in 2013, Japan hosted the Japan-ASEAN Special Summit and issued the Vision Statement on the Japan-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation in medium and long term.

Currently, Japan is implementing policies in four areas, including: Cooperation for peace and stability, which will build maritime security capabilities, human resources training, and the building of a resilient Asia who is not subdued by terrorism; Cooperation for prosperity, which will supports the strengthening of linkages and narrowing the development gap in the region and promote the improvement of infrastructure both in quality and quantity; Cooperation Initiatives for industrial human resources development, which will cover the Innovative Asia Scholarship Program and the establishment of the Foundation for Improving the role of Women in Japan and in ASEAN; and Cooperate for a better life including the Japan-ASEAN Health Initiative along with the cooperation for spiritual connection.

Besides the cooperation between Japan and ASEAN, Japan and Vietnam will also carry out many contents of bilateral cooperation. In the coming times, Japan wishes to expand cooperation with Vietnam in peacekeeping and defence equipment and continue to support the administrative reform of senior officials in Vietnam while sharing experiences with Vietnam in the area of privatisation of state-owned enterprises and the restructuring of ministries and sectors.

On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and Vietnam of next year, Japan will continue to strengthen its cooperation with Vietnam.

Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Harish Parvathaneni: India places ASEAN at the heart of its Act East Policy

asean an important factor in maintaining peace and prosperity in region
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Harish Parvathaneni. (Photo: VIR)

Over the past 50 years, ASEAN had put behind itself many of the post-decolonization debates of this region to usher in an era of high economic growth that served as a model to others. From the Indian perspective, ASEAN occupies a central place in the security of the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN represents the cultural, commercial and physical cross-roads of the region, it has a unique ability to reflect and harmonise larger interests of the world.

ASEAN-India dialogue relations have grown rapidly. India welcomes the realisation of ASEAN Community and has expressed full support for ASEAN's centrality in the evolving regional structure.

Vietnam’s significant contribution to the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership is much appreciated; while Vietnam had undertaken this role earlier as a close and trusted friend of India. Since 2015 it has been actively involved in its capacity as ASEAN Coordinator for India.

India places ASEAN at the heart of its East Policy Act and at the centre of its dream of an Asian century. There is a special emphasis on India-ASEAN cooperation in India’s domestic agenda on infrastructure, manufacturing, trade, skills, urban renewal, smart cities and “Make in India” programme with a particular focus on the northeast region of India which is seen as a land bridge connecting India and the larger ASEAN region. The focus of the cooperation is commerce, connectivity and culture resting on a platform of stability.

India and ASEAN share a common geographical historical and civilisational space, face common traditional and non-traditional security challenges, and consciously forge collaboration bilaterally through ASEAN forums such as East Asia Summit, ADMM+ and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum to ensure regional security.

The silver jubilee of India-ASEAN Dialogue Partnership is celebrated this year under the theme “Shared Values, Common Destiny”. The two sides will continue to focus on economic engagement, especially through ASEAN-India FTA in Goods and Services. The ongoing RCEP negotiations and a project development fund for CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam), improvements to market access, enhanced Mekong-Ganga sub-regional cooperation, activities of ASEAN-India Business Council, ASEAN-India Fund, ASEAN-India Green Fund, ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund and launch of the India-ASEAN Women Business Forum. The two sides will also bring youth together at the ASEAN-India Youth Summit in Bhopal, which will be held in India later this month, and numerous cultural events, conferences and seminars.

German Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam Wolfang Manig: ASEAN is a trustworthy partner of Germany

asean an important factor in maintaining peace and prosperity in region
German Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam Wolfang Manig. (Photo: Afrique Redaction)

Germany has closely coordinated with ASEAN since the association was established in 1967. Many ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, are significant trading partners with Germany. Germany views ASEAN as a trustworthy and sustainable partner and has also been established as a key developmental cooperation partner of ASEAN.

Under the framework of ASEAN-Germany cooperation, the two sides have carried out opened political dialogues on an equal basis of mutual future targets and priorities.

Trade turnover between Germany and ASEAN nations has maintained sustainable development since 2009 and German investors consider ASEAN as a potential market. Vietnam’s market has also seen the presence of many leading German businesses, which have contributed to promoting the technological transfer and creation of more jobs for qualified laborers from ASEAN countries.

Germany and ASEAN have also worked together towards addressing global challenges, predominantly in issues relating to climate change.

Regarding culture, Germany’s Goethe Institutes in the ASEAN region have attached priorities on fostering cultural exchange activities between the two sides while opening access to universities in Germany for students in the region with the support from the German Academic Exchange Service.

Germany highly values Vietnam’s positive participation in the building of a united and integrated ASEAN Community. Since joining ASEAN, Vietnam’s image in the international arena has been transformed from a country, which experienced wars to a country, which stays proactive and positive in its integration.

Becoming a member of ASEAN has also helped Vietnam to make great strides in economic development. With its advantages in geographic location as a coastal country, Vietnam has opened a significant navigation channel for ASEAN.

The increasing political position of ASEAN requires agreement and sharing from its member countries in order to bring sustainability to the bloc.

Youth exchange activities between ASEAN countries will contribute to forming a generation of young people in the region who are strong, confident and committed to building a sustainable ASEAN Community. The Germany-ASEAN and Germany-Vietnam relations in particular will be maintained and further developed in the future.

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(Source: NDO)