VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which was established 56 years ago, has brought tangible benefits to Laos after the country joined the regional bloc 26 years back, a top Lao diplomat has said.
Delivering a commemorative message to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the 10-member bloc and Laos’ accession to the group, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saleumxay Kommasith (pic), said the country has benefited from joining Asean.
“The Lao PDR attaches great importance to Asean. Throughout the past 26 years, all line agencies of the Lao PDR have actively and responsively participated in Asean activities and cooperation, which has contributed to Asean community building efforts and brought tangible benefits to the Lao PDR,” he said.
“It has also raised the profile of the Lao PDR in the regional and international arena.”
Over the past 56 years, Asean has gradually expanded, both in terms of its membership and cooperation.
Peace, stability and cooperation for development have been the consistent goals of Asean. As an inter-governmental regional organisation with unity in diversity, Asean has contributed to a common course of promoting and maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world.
In 2015, Asean established the Asean Community, which consists of three pillars – Asean Political-Security Community, Asean Economic Community, and Asean Socio-Cultural Community.
Asean is currently the world’s fifth-largest economy and is expected to be the fourth in the near future.
The bloc’s cooperation with external partners has deepened and widened through Asean-initiated, Asean-led, and Asean-centred mechanisms, bringing benefits to both the group and its external partners.
Laos had the honour of serving as Asean Chair twice, in 2004-05 and 2016.
The country will have the honour of assuming the Asean Chairmanship for the third time in 2024, when the bloc will focus its efforts on fully implementing the Asean Community Vision 2025. Laos will take a leading role in developing the Asean Community’s Post-2025 Vision, amongst other matters.
“The Lao PDR’s Asean Chairmanship in 2024 is another opportunity to elevate the role and profile of the Lao PDR in the regional and international arena,” Saleumxay said.
“It also provides an opportunity to promote Lao culture and tradition, as well as Visit Laos Year 2024. The Lao PDR is currently making all necessary arrangements to ensure its successful Asean Chairmanship in 2024.”
He called on people from all walks of lives in Laos to make contributions for the preparations for the Asean Chairmanship, to host Asean meetings in Laos, and to welcome delegates and tourists who will visit the country in 2024.
Source: The Star