New Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Laos to ASEAN Ekkaphab Phanthavong has highlighted the role of ASEAN in the international arena and how the bloc will benefit Laos.
The New Ambassador delivered his speech while presenting Letter of Credentials to ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi in Jakarta this week.
Phanthavong was confident that the ASEAN Secretariat, under the leadership of Hoi, will be strengthened while member nations are implementing ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
The vision is a forward-looking roadmap that reflects the aspirations of the next generation of ASEAN nationals. It aims to sustain the momentum of regional integration and further contribute to strengthening the ASEAN community-building efforts, according to the ASEAN website.
Phanthavong also called for the ASEAN Secretary-General to further support the Initiative for ASEAN Integration and Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 which should contribute to narrowing development disparity between newer and older ASEAN member countries.
According to the ASEAN website, ASEAN Connectivity is an integral part of building the ASEAN Community that will contribute to a more resilient and well-connected region. Enhancing ASEANConnectivity will continue to benefit all Member States through improved physical, institutional and people-to-people linkages.
The Master Plan is envisioned to achieve a seamlessly and comprehensively connected Asean that will promote competitiveness, inclusiveness and a greater sense of Community.
ASEAN (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) has a population of more than 620 million, which 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.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was established on Aug. 8, 1967, in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration.
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 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.
Laos joined ASEAN in 1997 and can be considered an active member of the group, fulfilling its ASEAN obligations including the successful hosting of its second Chairmanship in 2016.