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Asean plays greater role in global affairs

The celebration of 50 years of Asean demonstrates the continued relevance of Asean as an inter-governmental regional organisation whose centrality is recognised in the evolving regional architecture.

This was a remark delivered by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Saleumxay Kommasith at the Flag Hoisting Ceremony held in Vientiane yesterday to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Asean and 20th Anniversary of the Accession of Laos to the regional bloc.

The ceremony was also attended by senior government officials including Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara and foreign diplomat representatives.

During the event, Mr Saleumxay highlighted the significance of the Asean day (August 8) for all 10 member states as it constituted the start of Asean's journey towards a regional community.

Their main aims are to promote regional cooperation in the spirit of equality and partnership and thereby contributing to peace, stability, progress and prosperity in the region and the world at large.

“Throughout the past five decades of its existence, Asean has endured a myriad of challenges and has adjusted itself to the changing and complex regional and international landscape, taking into account diversity in the region and based on the Asean Way,” he said.

“As a result, Asean has gradually evolved, gained consistent achievements and become the Asean Community today with a firm and strong foundation to move forward at a pace comfortable to all of us.”

Laos joined Asean in 1997 and could be considered an active member of the group, fulfilling its obligations including the successful hosting of its 28th and 29th Summits and related meetings during its second Asean chairmanship last year.

Mr Saleumxay said Laos was proud to be a part of the Asean family. “Thanks to the assistance, support and cooperation from Asean Member States and all external partners, we, the Lao PDR, have been able to actively participate in and contribute to all areas of cooperation under the Asean framework over the past two decades,” he said.

This year, Laos organised 11 activities to mark the 50th Anniversary of Asean and 20th anniversary of accession to the bloc.

The ceremonial lighting of the city's Patouxay (Victory) monument took place on Vientiane's central Lane Xang Avenue on August 8, attended by senior government officials and foreign diplomatic representatives.

A friendly football tournament also took place on Friday and a mini-marathon will take place on Saturday which is expected to bring large crowds of officials from line agencies and Diplomatic Corps in Vientiane.

Other activities include an Asean food fair, a youth painting competition on “Asean 50th Anniversary”, a workshop, badminton tournament, a commemorative Gala Dinner hosted by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Asean general knowledge quiz shows on television and radio.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith delivered a message to mark the event.

With a combined population of more than 620 million, Asean (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) is considered the third largest in Asia after China and India.

The Asean Community was established in 2015 with a gross domestic product of US$2.6 trillion. The Asean Economic Community is the seventh-largest economy in the world and is projected to grow significantly in years and decades ahead.



By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update August 12, 2017)

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