VIENTIANE, September 8. /TASS/. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will continue to maintain its leading role in solving urgent problems of the region, becoming a center of regional architecture and deepening cooperation with its non-aligned partners, current Chairman of ASEAN, Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith said on Thursday, closing the Association’s three-day forum that took place in Vientiane under the motto "Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community", held from 6 to 8 September 2016. The forum’s program included the 28th and 29th summits, consultations in the "ASEAN Plus One" and "ASEAN Plus Three" consultations with the dialogue partners, as well as the 11th East Asia Summit.
"We have considered and adopted a number of decisions relating to the development of ASEAN in key areas such as economic cooperation, regional and global security," said the Lao prime minister. ASEAN and its dialogue partners discussed the Association’s growing role in international affairs, particularly its work on the prevention on conflicts and armed confrontations. It was noted that the Association and its partners intend to continue to expand joint efforts in responding to the modern challenges such as international terrorism, transnational crime, illegal migration, as well as to cooperate in ensuring energy and food security, disaster prevention and rapid response to their consequences.
"This collaboration will help ASEAN to respond more effectively to the global challenges in order to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and throughout the world", the ASEAN chairman said.
Concluding the forum, Laos handed over the chairmanship of the Association to the Philippines. Manila will officially assume ASEAN chairmanship on January 1, 2017. It is symbolic that in the year of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, the Association’s leadership will be taken by the country, which stood at its origins.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was founded on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok by five Southeast Asian countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Subsequently, five more countries: Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia joined the organization. Today, the 10 states that on December 31, 2015 proclaimed the establishment of the ASEAN community, is home to more than 640 million people and the Association’s total GDP is assessed at 3.5 trillion dollars.