Jakarta (VNA) – The Secretariat of the Association ofSoutheast Asian Nations (ASEAN) hosted a ceremony at its headquarters inJakarta, Indonesia, on August 11 to celebrate the bloc’s 50th foundinganniversary (August 8).
The event was attended by Indonesian PresidentJoko Widodo, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh and DeputySecretaries-General, the foreign ministers of Indonesia and Malaysia, alongwith a number of officials from ASEAN member states, and representatives ofinternational and non-governmental organisations and ASEAN’s partner countries.
Addressing the ceremony, Secretary-General Minhsaid ASEAN has been strongly developing over the past five decades and becomingan important region, contributing greatly to peace, security and prosperity inSoutheast Asia and the world.
The association has made considerable progressto become one of the successful and effective regional organisations in termsof regional peace and security, economic integration, and institutionalbuilding, he noted.
However, the Secretary-General stressed that thereremain a number of challenges facing ASEAN nowadays, adding that theassociation needs to continue supporting its member nations, partners, dialoguepartners and other relevant parties.
The group also needs to maintain solidarity to deal with complicated circumstancesarising during the process of regional and global development, including thespread of extremism and terrorism, protectionism, proliferation of nuclearweapons, and tensions of maritime disputes.
In his speech, Indonesian President Joko Widodourged ASEAN members to connect together more closely to improve the capacity ofresponding to challenges amid weak growth of the global economy.
While conflicts have occurred in many placesaround the world, ASEAN has still managed Southeast Asia as a stable region, hesaid, adding that its member countries must resolve issues through dialoguesand negotiations.
The President also expressed his belief thatASEAN, with 50 years of development, will truly bring benefits to people inSoutheast Asia.
On the sidelines of the celebration, variousactivities took place such as cultural performances praising the bloc’ssolidarity and friendship, an exhibition of art works created by ASEAN artists,and a cuisine festival that drew the participation of all ASEAN nations andmany dialogue partners such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Canada,Russia and New Zealand.-VNA