- POSTED: 09 Oct 2013 22:09
This graph is an experimental feature that tracks number of views over time.
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has proposed that ASEAN continue to strengthen community building, regional peace and stability, and itself as an organisation.
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Pressing on with community building, maintaining regional peace and stability, and strengthening ASEAN as an organisation -- these are the areas which Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has proposed for the 10-member grouping to continue strengthening, both individually and collectively.
Southeast Asia is doing relatively well against the backdrop of many uncertainties in the world, like the US political gridlock and an uncertain situation in the Middle East, said Mr Lee.
As an institution, ASEAN is gaining credibility, and this positive reputation benefits all member countries.
Mr Lee emphasised the importance of the grouping remaining relevant.
He said: "The countries have to be strong, the cooperation has to be developed, and we must be able to overcome problems and to make progress which will make a difference to our people's lives and make us a valuable partner which other countries would want to cooperate with.
"Then you can be relevant. It's not what you say, it's what you do."
One major project in that direction is the ASEAN Economic Community blueprint due by 2015, with 80 per cent of the economic blueprint implemented.
Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam said: "The last 15 per cent or 20 per cent is the most difficult and can in fact make substantive impact on people and this is the part we need to push and PM (Lee) made a very strong point on that.
“A number of leaders recognize that this is important. But of course every country will look at the consequences of opening up and there needs to be a meeting of minds.
“The leaders agreed on the setting up of a high level task force because we in Singapore and others have said it's time to look at the mechanisms of ASEAN, the processes, the procedures and see how we can do better, make it more efficient, particularly in the run-up to 2015 and post 2015.
"For ASEAN to do all these things, it needs an effective functioning secretariat."
As a next step forward, a high level task force has been set up to look at the challenges of implementing the blueprint beyond 2015.
The year-end ASEAN summit also allows ASEAN's leaders to update themselves on the cooperation programmes the grouping has with its dialogue partners, and reinforce the message that ASEAN and its partner nations have key roles to play in maintaining the peace, security and stability of this region.
Some of the newly-appointed leaders attending the meeting include South Korea's president and China's newly appointed premier.
During the ASEAN-China summit, PM Lee said that Singapore welcomed China's recent proposal to set up an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, adding that Singapore was open to taking part the same way it does in the Asian Development Bank and the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund.
Turning to talks on the South China Sea disputes, Mr Lee said ASEAN should continue to call for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC).
Singapore also welcomed the start of official consultations on the COC in September, with Mr Lee adding that ASEAN must work on a roadmap to begin formal negotiations on the COC soon.
On his part, China's Premier Li Keqiang said a peaceful South China Sea is a blessing for all and he wants to work towards making the area a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
At the ASEAN-US Summit, Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that US ties with ASEAN remained a key priority for the United States.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Lee also emphasized that the continued presence of the US in the region is essential to ASEAN's continued shared prosperity and security.