ASEAN founding anniversary marked in Vietnam, South Africa

Tuesday, 2017-08-08 21:23:34
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A performance at the ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN in Ho Chi Minh City on August 8. (Credit: congan.com.vn)
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NDO/VNA – The ASEAN Pretoria Committee (APC) held a ceremony in the capital city of Pretoria, on August 8, to mark the 50th founding anniversary of the association (August 8, 1967).

The event was jointly organised by the embassies of ASEAN countries in South Africa, namely those of Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Indonesian Ambassador to South Africa Suprapto Martosetomo, who is currently President of the APC, reviewed the development of ASEAN since its establishment over five decades ago.

He noted that from its initial first five members, ASEAN has developed into a ten-member bloc that is connected in terms of politics and economy, while enhancing its cooperation with external partners.

ASEAN has affirmed and promoted its central role in addressing regional and global issues via peaceful measures and dialogues in line with international law, he stressed.

Particularly, the association has always maintained peace, stability and common development over the past 50 years, he added.

The establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015 marked an important milestone in regional economic and trade connectivity, as well as illustrating its commitments to building a single market of over 630 million people in order to increase competitiveness and promote intra- and extra-bloc cooperation, he said.

On August 8, Ho Chi Minh City also hosted a ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN, with the senior officials of local governments and diplomats from the ASEAN nations in attendance.

Speaking at the event, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said that Vietnam looks forward to closer ties between the country, including the city, and the other ASEAN nations and its partners for the prosperity of the region and the world.

He said that the last five decades have seen extraordinary progress for ASEAN, with the bloc growing stronger, developing in scale and working to foster regional cooperation and to strengthen solidarity, mutual understanding and trust between the member states.

ASEAN is a key factor in promoting dialogue and collaboration for prosperity and security across the region and the globe by playing a central role at a number of regional forums such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3 and the ASEAN Regional Forum, he added.

Phong went on the say that HCM City has established relations with six ASEAN cities and provinces and has engaged in bilateral cooperation with other member states across multiple fields.

As of the end of July, there were 1,465 investment projects, worth US$15.45 billion, operated by ASEAN countries in the city, mostly in the processing, manufacturing and education and training sectors, the chairman said.

On behalf of ASEAN consul-generals and honourary consuls in HCM City, Indonesia Consul-General Jean Anes hailed the city for hosting the celebration, describing it as a demonstration of the common awareness of the significance of maintaining and fostering the values of the ASEAN.

The city’s Thong Nhat Conference Hall, People’s Committee Head Office, Saigon Opera House, Central Post Office and Ho Chi Minh Museum were lit up from 18:45 to 22:00 on the same day in celebration of the anniversary.

The central city of Da Nang plans to organise a series of activities throughout the year to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the ASEAN.

The activities include an East-West Economic Corridor-Da Nang Trade and Tourism Fair 2017, to be held from August 11-16, a conference on the ASEAN Community and free trade agreements between ASEAN and partners, and an ASEAN Tourism Space from August 10-14.

At the same time, Da Nang will launch a contest for high school students in September on the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN and an ASEAN tertiary education festival on September 16.

An international conference for young researchers at economic and business universities will be held on November 3.

These activities aim to promote the development process of the ASEAN over the past 50 years, thus raising public awareness of the opportunities that the association can bring to residents of the member countries, as well as the challenges that the member states are currently dealing with together.