Thai PM bats for closer partnership beyond Asean

NONTHABURI, Thailand -- Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha highlighted the importance of stronger ties among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as well as the bloc's trading partners to realize the group's goal beyond the region.

In his speech during the opening of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits here on Sunday, Chan-o-cha said Asean should be united not just as a region but also with its external partners, which he dubbed as close and good friends.

These partners, he said, have helped Asean realize our aspirations, extending the benefits of our work beyond the Southeast Asian region as well.

He said problems like global economic slowdown, geostrategic competition both at the regional and global levels, multilateralism, transnational crime, disruptive technology, climate change, and environmental degradation and marine debris cannot be addressed by Asean members alone.

Therefore, close partnership and friendship will be crucial to enabling our region, which spans the Pacific and Indian oceans, to tackle and overcome these challenges, he said.

The Prime Minister explained that leaders from the Asean and its trading partners will have the opportunity to show greater tie-up during the meetings lined up until November 4.

These meetings, he said, will allow the stakeholders to take forward the outcomes of the last Asean Summit, and to craft collective approach based on Asean centrality and its strength in being a friend to all and enemy to none in addressing regional and global challenges as well as promoting sustainability in all dimensions.

And we shall do so by taking two key approaches namely, creating an environment conducive to peace and stability for the long term together with promoting dynamic economic growth and sustainable development, he said.

These two approaches are effectively two sides of the same coin and will further contribute to a sustainable community for the region, he pointed out.

He stressed the need to give importance to rules and norms and thanked additional members to the peace treaty known as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

To date, there are about 38 parties in the TAC. Aside from Asean members, other High Contracting Parties include China, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, France, Peru, Turkey, Egypt and Brazil.

Indeed, this reflects the recognition given by external countries of the fundamental principles as well as rules and norms of cooperation in this region, he said, but added that we should also continue to develop mechanisms for economic dispute settlements. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency