Keynote Address by
His Excellency Alounkeo KITTIKHOUN, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of ASEAN and the 20th Anniversary of Lao PDR’s Accession to ASEAN
At the Landmark Lighting of Patuxay
8 August 2017
- Excellencies Ministers, Vice Ministers,
- Ambassadors of ASEAN Member States and Dialogue Partners,
- Distinguished Participants,
- Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, on behalf of the Government of the Lao PDR, it is a great honor for me to welcome you to the ceremony of the landmark Lighting of Patuxay, which is one of the activities at the national level to commemorate the historic milestone of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of ASEAN and the 20th Anniversary of Lao PDR’s accession to ASEAN.
8 August every year reminds us of the establishment of ASEAN, which was initially founded in 1967 by the five founding fathers, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. ASEAN today has become one of the most successful inter-governmental organizations in the region and the world,
8 August of 2017 is a particularly special as it marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of ASEAN.
This activity of landmark lighting, therefore, bears great significance for ASEAN, including Laos not only in terms of promoting greater awareness on ASEAN among the local community, but also to celebrate the achievements that ASEAN has made over half century.
Over the past 50 years, ASEAN has been consistently pursuing regional integration and the building of the ASEAN Community, leading to the eventual declaration of the official establishment of the ASEAN Community on 31 December 2015, based on 3 pillars, namely the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
Apart from consolidating intra-ASEAN cooperation to realize the lofty goal of building the ASEAN Community, ASEAN has also sought to strengthen its partnership with dialogue partners and external parties across the world, including the major powers through a number of unique modalities and platforms initiated by ASEAN, namely the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting Plus, ASEAN Regional Forum, and the East Asia Summit. These regional ASEAN-led mechanisms have served as key platforms not only for ASEAN to engage partners outside the region, but also for its partners, especially ASEAN’s dialogue partners to engage one another with a view to promoting mutual understanding and strategic trust, thus contributing to the promotion of peace, stability and development cooperation in the region and the world at large.
Being a member of ASEAN, it is a great honor and privilege for the Lao PDR. Since Lao PDR’s accession to ASEAN in 1997, we have regarded ASEAN as a priority in our foreign policy. Over the past 2 decades, the Lao PDR has been actively carrying out its obligations in the pursuit of the common objectives of ASEAN in all areas of cooperation under the three community pillars, as well as strengthening ASEAN’s external relations, thus bringing about tangible benefits to ASEAN including the Lao PDR.
Most importantly, the Lao PDR had the honour to assume ASEAN Chairmanship for the second time in 2016. Under the theme “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community”, with active support and cooperation of ASEAN fellows and dialogue partners, Laos’ ASEAN Chairmanship had produced a number of important framework documents, particularly the ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III and Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity 2025, which serve as important basis for further strengthening of the ASEAN Community as well as our common endeavour of promoting regional integration.
- Distinguished Guests,
- Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the past half century, ASEAN has made significant strides in its integration agenda, and become an exemplary role model for regional cooperation guiding its Member States on the path toward shared prosperity and sustainable development. However, in order to realize its goal of building a politically cohesive, economically integrated, and socially responsible ASEAN Community, ASEAN needs to overcome a number of challenges such as reducing the development gap among its Member States and enhancing regional connectivity to promote effective trade and investment within ASEAN and between ASEAN and wider region. Furthermore, ASEAN will need to enhance its capacity and readiness in responding to regional traditional and non-traditional security challenges as well as the global political and economic uncertainties.
Moving forward, Laos counts on continued support and cooperation from our ASEAN fellows and ASEAN’s dialogue partners and external parties, so that we could effectively implement our ASEAN obligations, thus contributing to the promotion of peace, stability and common prosperity in the region and the world. Thank you.