Building ASEAN Community of peace, stability and prosperity

Friday, 2019-08-30 17:03:15
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NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and other leaders of the parliaments of 10 AIPA member countries in a group photo at the opening ceremony (Photo: VNA)
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NDO - The 40th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA 40), which took place in Bangkok from August 25 – 30, wrapped up with success. The high-ranking delegation of the National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam to the AIPA 40, led by NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, made a deep impression on international friends. Thereby, it affirmed active and responsible participation of the Vietnamese NA in AIPA, contributing to improving the effectiveness of Vietnam's external activities.

The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO), the forerunner of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) , was officially established in Manila, the capital of the Philippines on September 2, 1977. AIPO initially had five founding member countries and has so far grown steadily with the admission of more members. Over the past 42 years, AIPA has affirmed the position of parliamentary diplomacy as well as its role in the integration process of Southeast Asian countries. This is also one of the typical models of regional parliamentary links in Asia, demonstrating the spirit of cooperation and unity in diversity of the ASEAN Community.

Following an open, diversified and multilateral foreign policy, the Vietnamese NA joined AIPO in 1995 (AIPO was renamed as AIPA in 2006). This was a historic event, marking a new development step in the relationship between the Vietnamese NA and parliaments of other countries in the region.

As a member of AIPA, Vietnam has always actively participated in the activities of the General Assembly and successfully organised AIPA-23 meetings in 2002 and AIPA-31 in 2010 in addition to symposia and committee-level meetings which were highly appreciated by member parliaments.

The Vietnam’s NA has contributed many initiatives at the General Assembly meetings as well as activities within the framework of AIPA. Vietnam also launched an initiative to establish an AIPA advisory group at AIPA member parliaments to advise on the harmonisation of laws, the supervision of the implementation of AIPA's resolutions and to strengthen relations between AIPA and ASEAN in addition to the initiative to expand the participants in AIPA conferences including some non-AIPA member countries.

AIPA 40 took place in the mid-term period of the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 in order to expand and deepen foreign relations and consolidate ASEAN's central role in resolving regional issues. The AIPA 40 is themed "Advancing parliamentary partnership for sustainable community" which is in accordance with this year's ASEAN theme "Promoting partnership for sustainability", expressing the message of AIPA and the desire of the host country Thailand to develop AIPA to become an important partner of ASEAN towards building a Community for peace, stability and prosperity.

To implement the aforementioned theme, Thailand, the Chair of ASEAN 2019, has actively implemented initiatives, including building the vision of ASEAN leaders to promote sustainable partnerships, social welfare, active and creative old age, and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

These activities are the basis for AIPA 40 to put forth some topics within its agenda associated with sustainable development initiatives in ASEAN, such as promoting parliamentary diplomacy for the ASEAN Community, ASEAN cooperation for the fourth industrial revolution, improving the quality of life of the elderly, gender equality and women's empowerment in ASEAN.

In the congratulatory letter sent to Chair of AIPA 40 and Speaker of the Thai House of Representatives Chuan Leekpai on the occasion of AIPA 40, Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong stated that AIPA and ASEAN should continue to strengthen substantial and pragmatic cooperation, connectivity and mutual support in the process of building the ASEAN Community and realising the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, in order to fulfil set targets at both national and regional levels, thus bringing about practical benefits to people in the Community.

As an active and responsible member of AIPA, the Vietnamese National Assembly has been, and will actively participate in AIPA activities and in the international and regional integration process, for the peace, prosperity and sustainability of the ASEAN Community, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong wrote.

The Vietnamese high-ranking NA delegation to AIPA 40 participated in many programmes and activities. During the opening session, the Vietnamese NA Chairwoman delivered a keynote speech addressing the increasingly fierce challenges for the ASEAN Community, including the strategic competition between major countries and traditional and non-traditional security issues. She also mentioned complicated developments in the region, notably unilateral activities in the East Sea that are violating the sovereignty and legitimate interests of coastal states, undermining trust, and creating negative impacts on peace, security, stability, freedom and safety of navigation and aviation in the region.

Therefore, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan suggested that countries should continue to strengthen their solidarity and unity and promote ASEAN's central role while deepening relations with other partners to affirm the role of ASEAN as the driving force for dialogues, cooperation and development in the region.

NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairman of National Assembly's Foreign Relatiosn Committee Nguyen Van Giau and leaders of NA’s Committees also took the time to chair bilateral meetings. At these meetings, representatives of the National Assembly of ASEAN countries and the observer countries showed and gave much respect to the Vietnamese NA Chairwoman and the Vietnamese NA.

Speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives Habib El Malki expressed his special admiration for the history, culture, tradition and people of Vietnam. At the meeting with Chairwoman Ngan, President of the National Assembly of Cambodia Heng Samrin affirmed that Cambodia is always thankful for the affection of the Party, State, National Assembly and people of Vietnam for supporting Cambodia in many difficult periods in the past and in the current process of national construction. He noted that the cooperation between the two countries' National Assemblies has gained many good outcomes in different fields. The National Assembly of Cambodia is ready to support Vietnam as the chair of AIPA 41.

Over the past 42 years, AIPA has gradually built bridges towards friendship to connect ASEAN parliaments and people, contributing to the building of an ASEAN Community of peace, stability and prosperity.

The contributions of the Vietnamese NA in AIPA is increasingly important to strengthening the friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and ASEAN countries, confirming the position and role of the Vietnamese NA in the region and the world. Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan took over the AIPA 41 chairmanship at the closing ceremony of AIPA 40, which will be the foundation for Vietnam to continue to perform well and firmly affirm its position in international integration.