President Benigno S. Aquino III and other Southeast Asian leaders gathered on Monday (April 27) for the opening ceremony of the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
President Aquino was welcomed by Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak and his spouse, Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, upon his arrival at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), the summit venue.
The leaders of the 10-member ASEAN convened on Monday to discuss, among others, the progress made towards establishing the ASEAN Community by the end of the year, the association’s post-2015 vision, external relations, and future direction.
In his opening address, Prime Minister Najib welcomed the leaders and delegates to Kuala Lumpur, saying 2015 would be a “milestone” in the history of the ASEAN with the establishment of the ASEAN Community by the end of this year.
“It is also our collective duty this year to formulate a successor document to the Roadmap to Establish the ASEAN Community. This will provide the basis for how we further strengthen our unity and deepen our integration over the next ten years, taking us up to 2025,” the Malaysian leader said.
“These are two crucial undertakings for charting a bold, inclusive and forward-looking future for ASEAN and its peoples.”
The ASEAN Community comprises three pillars, namely the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
This year’s ASEAN summit, being held in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi from April 26 to 28, has the theme, “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision”.
Established in August 1967, the ASEAN is composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
The summit is the association’s highest policy-making body and its chairmanship is rotated alphabetically among the member states every year. (PCOO News Release)