Philippines hosts grand celebration of ASEAN’s 50th founding anniversary

MANILA – A grand ceremony took place at the Philippine International Convention Centre in Manila yesterday to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The event was attended by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, ASEAN Secretary General Lê Lương Minh, and Foreign Ministers from 10 member states and the bloc’s partner and dialogue countries.

The Vietnamese delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh. With the theme “Under one light, we are one ASEAN”, the ceremony included a series of performances praising the friendship and solidarity of the 10 member states. Participants also paid tribute to the founders of ASEAN and honoured ASEAN citizens who had made great contributions to its socio-economic development.

Speaking at the ceremony, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano emphasised that after 50 years, ASEAN had risen to be a prestigious regional association and a trusted partner of many countries. It had led its member states to overcome a lot of challenges, in which solidarity and consensus are the key factors to help the bloc maintain peace and stability and develop a prosperous and people-centred community, he added.

In his message delivered at the ceremony, Duterte reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN over the past five decades, hoping the community would continue growing sustainably. In the period, the role and position of ASEAN had been asserted firmly, which was reflected through the strength of the ASEAN Community, the close connectivity in politics, economics and culture among the members, and development in relations between ASEAN and its partners as well as countries’ support for ASEAN’s central role in regional processes. He also stressed the need for ASEAN to promote its activeness and connectivity in order to better adapt to new developments in the region and the world. — VNS
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