ASEAN countries pledge to strengthen community-building, unity, centrality
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the ASEAN Community, its unity and centrality at the 43rd ASEAN Summit.
The three-day ASEAN Summit and related summits, under the theme "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth," are scheduled to conclude here later on Thursday.
"We reviewed ASEAN's progress and reaffirmed our commitment to further strengthen ASEAN as an organization that is robust and agile, equipped with strengthened capacity and institutional effectiveness to address today's challenges and to remain relevant for its people, the region, and the world," said a Chairman's Statement of the 43rd ASEAN Summit issued on Wednesday.
ASEAN countries also reaffirmed their shared commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes, the statement said.
They pledged to uphold regionalism and multilateralism and emphasized the importance of adhering to key principles, shared values, and norms enshrined in the United Nations (UN) Charter, the ASEAN Charter, and the Declaration on Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality, among others.
A series of documents have been adopted at the Summit, including the ASEAN Concord IV, ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on ASEAN as an Epicentrum of Growth.
The ASEAN Concord IV consolidates the bloc's continued efforts to ensure that ASEAN matters for the region and its people, and remains an epicenter of growth in the region and beyond.
ASEAN countries have vowed to further encourage their partners to engage in practical and tangible cooperation with the bloc in the four key areas of maritime cooperation, connectivity, UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and economy.
"We were pleased with the significant progress in the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement," the statement said, noting the urgent need to ensure effective implementation of RCEP to support the regional post-pandemic economic recovery.
ASEAN welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Local Currency Transaction Task Force and the completion of the Roadmap on Regional Payment Connectivity for ASEAN, according to the statement.
ASEAN countries also noted the importance of sustainable tourism as a catalyst for environmental conservation and economic growth.
The bloc members also agreed that the Philippines shall assume the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2026, the statement said.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.