Thailand pushes ASEAN as region of wealth, stability

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct 9 – Thailand will forge ahead with its attempt to strengthen Southeast Asia to deal with rapid global change and become a region of prosperity, stability and peace, according to Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The Thai leader is in the Brunei capital to attend the 23rd ASEAN Summit and related meetings, held today and tomorrow.

The summit  focuses on, among others, strengthening the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community building encompassing implementation of the blueprints of the three pillars and the master plan on ASEAN connectivity.

Ms Yingluck said ASEAN countries must work closely on various challenges including trans-boundary migration, food and energy security, climate change and disaster mitigation.

She called on ASEAN members to speed up preparations for the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community and build up connectivity to facilitate trade and integrate Southeast Asia as a market and manufacturing hub.

Industrial and economic zones along borders would connect peoples and economies of neighbouring countries, she said.

To enhance Southeast Asia as a region of prosperity, stability and peace, member countries must strictly abide by universal norms particularly on human rights, good governance, democracy, respect to diversity and patience, said Ms Yingluck.

She said Thailand attached high importance to strengthening ASEAN, especially its Post-2015 Vision emphasising people-centred development agenda, cooperation with dialogue partners on agriculture, food and energy security, and water management, which directly impact the well-being of peoples in the region.

The Thai prime minister stressed unity among ASEAN members to deal with global challenges and to “speak with one voice” in international fora.

She also urged cooperation in the South China Sea, to settle the ongoing dispute and promote peace and stability in Southeast Asia.

Besides the ASEAN Summit, ASEAN leaders also attended meetings with key dialogue partners including China, Japan, South Korean, India and the US, and the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit.