The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Vietnam, announced the establishment of a formal community during a summit in the Malaysian capital on Sunday.
The declaration by ASEAN leaders on the establishment of the ASEAN Community was one of the highlights at the bloc’s 27th annual summit, which opened on Wednesday and will conclude on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, according to national broadcaster Vietnam Television.
The launch of the ASEAN Community is considered a momentous milestone in the grouping’s history, as it marks the significant achievement of the cooperation and integration goals set by regional member countries since its inception in 1967.
The ASEAN Community is the realization of the vision of ASEAN leaders for the regional group to build and achieve community status by 2015.
The community includes a political, security and socio-cultural dimension in a region with governments of diverse forms, according to Reuters.
Its main purpose is to make ASEAN an inter-governmental organization centered on internal cooperation on the basis of the ASEAN Charter adopted in 2007 as well as external collaboration with other countries.
“With the launch of the ASEAN Community, ASEAN will become a full-fledged politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible community,” Le Luong Minh, ASEAN Secretary General, was quoted as saying at //www.asean.org.
The ASEAN Community will contribute to peace and stability in the region, toward greater regional prosperity, and bring more opportunities for ASEAN peoples and the broader global community to benefit from ASEAN integration, the official added.
Along with the establishment of the ASEAN Community, ASEAN heads of government also issued the ASEAN vision beyond 2015, which sets the goals and aspirations for the bloc’s next phase of consolidation, further integration and stronger cohesiveness.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a political and economic organization of ten member nations, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
The ASEAN Summit is an annual meeting held by its member states in relation to economic and cultural development.
The leaders of ASEAN have also engaged with the heads of government of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and the United States during the this year summit.