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Monday, 12 May 2014

ASEAN leaders stress ASEAN unity, peace, centrality, progress and the importance of China’s peaceful rise

ASEAN leaders pose for pictures during the opening ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw May 11, 2014.

ASEAN leaders on Sunday pledged to strengthen ASEAN unity and solidarity as well as ASEAN's central role in maintaining and promoting peace, stability, harmony and prosperity in the region.

Gathering at the 24th ASEAN Summit, which was wrapped up here Sunday, the leaders adopted the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on Realization of the ASEAN Community by 2015 to reaffirm their commitment to the aims and purposes of ASEAN.

The leaders agreed to further enhance ASEAN cooperation in promoting democracy, good governance and rule of law, in addition to promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, so as to further enhance a rule-based community of shared values and norms, the declaration said.

They also agreed to explore the possibility for a regional framework based on the principles contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and in line with the Bali Principles on Mutually Beneficial Relations.

The leaders vowed to further promote peace and reconciliation in the region through relevant mechanisms and entities associated with ASEAN, and strengthen cooperation for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.

They also pledged to work closely with nuclear weapon states on the early signing and ratification of the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone without reservations by nuclear weapon states.

Meanwhile, the leaders will seek to strengthen ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture through ASEAN-led processes such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus, and ASEAN Regional Forum, according to the declaration.

The summit, themed Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community, was chaired by Myanmar President U Thein Sein. It was the first time for Myanmar to assume the ASEAN chairmanship since it joined the bloc in 1997.

Source: NAY PYI TAW, May 11 (Xinhua)

24th ASEAN summit wraps up with significant progress

Video: 24th ASEAN summit wraps up with significant progress ...

This year's ASEAN summit has wrapped up in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar, reflecting the country's growing role in the regional association. ASEAN's plans for integration are moving forward under the shadow of the potentially divisive issue of the South China sea.

A celebration of a nation. The ASEAN anthem, sung in myanmar’s capital naypyidaw for the opening of the 24th ASEAN Summit. A historic moment for one of ASEAN’s youngest member, that has come a long way from a secluded country crippled with sanctions into hosting one of the most important leaders summit in the region at a very crucial point of the association’s history.

"The ASEAN community will merge in one and a half year’s time. Today, we are at a critical juncture and we need of make sure that all the necessary steps in the community building are take in a timely manner." President of Myanmar Thein Sein said.

To that end the 24th ASEAN summit has made some strides with the commitment to expedite the implementation of the blueprints for Asian community,namely through ASEAN connectivity.. which in turn will help maintain and boost ASEAN economies and reduce poverty in the region especially in a newly opened up country like Myanmar.

The recent tension between Vietnam, the Philippines, both ASEAN members and China, an important partner to ASEAN has also prompted ASEAN to call for restraint in the disputed territory and expedite the development of the Code of Conduct and show a united front that goes beyond a picture

"In regional and global context, ASEAN must continue to play a greater role with more proactive engagements with external parties. ASEAN should be contributing more towards peace and prosperity to the global community by taking collective and united responses to global issues of common concerns and interest." Sein said.

As the end of the summit brings ASEAN an inch forward to a community, serious questions are raised on its effectiveness in solving and facilitating difficult issues and that will be the biggest test yet for the association of nations.

Myanmar stresses China’s peaceful rise to regional leadership

NAY PYI TAW (dpa) – Myanmar officials highlighted the importance of China’s peaceful rise in the region on Saturday ahead of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.

Myanmar will host Sunday for the first time since it joined the 10-nation bloc in 1997.

“China is not only a big friend of Myanmar’s, but China is also the biggest trading partner of most of the Asean counties so China’s peaceful rise is very important for the Asean region,” said Ye Htut, a spokesman for President Thein Sein.

Asean Summits, held twice a year, end with declarations on regional issues such as economic integration and common security concerns. The Philippines and Vietnam are lobbying this year for a strong statement from Asean against aggression in the South China Sea.

Several countries have territorial disputes with Beijing over sovereignty claims to the sea, petroleum reserves and rights to fishing grounds.

Myanmar, as host, will play a crucial role in determining the tone of the final Asean statement on China, its northern neighbour and main foreign investor.

Asean foreign ministers met in the capital Nay Pyi Taw Saturday to discuss regional issues, including the South China Sea tensions, ahead of the summit.

Ye Htut described the Philippines’ and Vietnam’s problems with China as a matter of “bilateral relations.”

China’s policy has been to address its territorial disputes at the bilateral level, while the Philippines and Vietnam want a common Asean stance to pressure Beijing to agree to a Code of Conduct in the disputed areas.

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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