Seventeen years ago, on 23 July 1997, Lao PDR and Myanmar officially joined ASEAN

Introduction: Seventeen years ago, on 23 July 1997, Lao PDR and Myanmar officially joined ASEAN. Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong said, Laos’ Asean membership is the fruit borne from Laos’s foreign policy that contributes to the building of peace, stability and cooperation for development in the region

ASEAN was founded on August 8, 1967 by the five Asean founding members, namely Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. Laos became a member of the association on July 23, 1997. The association was founded with the objective of maintaining peace and stability and promoting cooperation for the prosperity of the Southeast Asian nations.

ASEAN has now become a vibrant inter-governmental organisation setting for itself a lofty goal of establishing an ASEAN Community by 2015 that consists of three pillars – the ASEAN Political-Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. The regional bloc also aims to strengthen its external relations in which ASEAN centrality is preserved and recognised.

Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong made the comment as he delivered a message to mark the 45th Anniversary of the Founding of Asean and the 15th Anniversary of Laos’membership of Asean said, “The Lao PDR’s accession to Asean on July 23, 1997 is the fruit of the implementation of our consistent foreign policy of peace, independence, friendship, and cooperation aimed at contributing to the building of Southeast Asia as a region of peace, stability and cooperation for development,”

He said adding that, this has created an environment conducive to the socio-economic development of Asean member states, including Laos. The Lao premier succinctly summarised the important achievements Asean has made over the past years.

The premier noted the active contribution of Laos to Asean activities and the benefits Laos has gained since becoming a member of Asean. Laos’s profile in regional and international fora has been gradually uplifted. There has been an increase in trade, investment, and foreign tourist arrivals in the country. It has received technical support and assistance as well as help with human resource development from Asean member states, dialogue partners and other external partners of Asean.

Laos’ successful chairmanship of Asean in 2004-2005 made the country’s role and capacity recognised by Asean nations and other countries as well. Subsequently, Laos was entrusted to chair and host various important regional and international meetings and in 2016, Laos will assume the Asean chairmanship for the second time.

Source: Lao National Television News in English
Broadcast on 23/07/2014