The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) should be a model regional community that is harmonious and of value to the nations.

Lao and foreign experts gave the common view when talking about Asean Political Security Pillar of the future community at a seminar held yesterday in Vientiane on preparing Laos’ Asean chairmanship next year.

In his opening remarks at the seminar, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Alounkeo Kittikoun briefed the meeting on the regional and global situation which had created complications for Asean with opportunities and challenges.

These included transnational crimes, natural disasters, unusual migration, territorial disputes, terrorism, and the race between great powers.

He called on participants to discuss and brainstorm about ways and measures to respond to the issues during the country’s Asean chairmanship next year.

Mr Alounkeo who is also the Laos Asean Senior Officials Leader also discussed how Asean should be in future.

“We should make sure that the region we are in, become secured, peacefully and politically,” he said.

He also highlighted Asean centrality which should play a fundamental role in its future. It should also be strong but not militarily, with its strength based on its principles and values of the nations.

Chargé d’affaire from the Australian Embassy Mr David Vosen praised Laos’ ambition in taking on the chairmanship next year as it was very significant with the regional nations joining in a community.

He spoke about issues relating to political security and stability in the ten countries which combined had 600 million people with significant religious, linguistic and geographic diversity.

Former Asean Secretary General Mr Ong Keng Yong who is currently Ambassador-at-Large of Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs joined the seminar as main lecturer.

In his opening remarks, Mr Ong took into account the importantance of the inter-governmental association which comprised ten countries, ten decision makers and ten groups of citizens of Southeast Asia.

He said the nations were not like the European Union with its commission in Brussels, Belgium to make decisions, but Asean was a unique intergovernmental association of ten countries constructed into a very positive organisation – the Asean Way.

“We followed the Asean way with ten countries loving each other, and ten ideas to make decision together looking at common barriers,” Mr Ong said.

At the seminar, Ambassador Ong’s lecture covered regional architecture evolution, regional and international issues, and challenges and opportunities for Laos’ Asean chairmanship.

The Asia Foundation Country Coordinator Ms Nancy Y. Kim also attended the seminar.

Source: Vientiane Times
Published on July 23