Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has voiced support for ASEAN to play a more proactive role in the global community, pursuing a “forward strategy” to deal with global challenges more effectively.
Prime Minister Yingluck on November 17 attended the 19th ASEAN Summit at Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre (BNDCC) in Bali, Indonesia, followed by the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC). Key issues discussed at the summit were ASEAN community-building by 2015, the role of ASEAN in the global community, and other regional and international issues of mutual interest.
A report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that during the Plenary Session of the ASEAN Summit, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to accelerate the implementation of the Blueprints of the three ASEAN pillars, i.e. ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. Many countries expressed views on the current economic slowdown in various parts of the world, which makes it even more necessary for ASEAN to accelerate its economic integration, so as to strengthen the region’s economic resilience and promote equitable, inclusive, and sustainable economic development in ASEAN. In addition, ASEAN Member States recognized the need to expedite the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, including public-private partnership, which would contribute to ASEAN competitiveness and integration in all aspects.
According to the report, during the Retreat Session of the Summit, ASEAN Leaders exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, such as maritime security and disaster management, as well as discussing how to promote ASEAN’s role in the global community and reinforce ASEAN’s centrality in the evolving regional architecture, with Russia and the United States participating in the East Asia Summit for the first time this year. Furthermore, ASEAN leaders welcomed the progress in democratization process and socio-economic reforms in Myanmar. The Meeting voiced support for Myanmar to assume ASEAN chairmanship in 2014 and expressed hope that Myanmar would maintain the momentum of these positive developments.
On Thailand’s part, Prime Minister Yingluck reiterated Thaliand’s political stability which would enable Thailand to play an active role in ASEAN. While reaffirming Thailand’s commitment to relief and rapid recovery after the floods, Thailand also stressed the importance for ASEAN to enhance cooperation in management of flood disasters and water resources. In this connection, ASEAN leaders adopted the Statement on Cooperation in Flood Prevention, Mitigation, Relief, Recovery, and Rehabilitation, which was proposed by Thailand. ASEAN Member States expressed appreciation for Thailand’s initiative on this important matter. In addition, Prime Minister Yingluck voiced support for ASEAN to play a more proactive role in the global community, pursuing a “forward strategy” to deal with global challenges more effectively.
On the economic aspect, given the fluctuation in the global economy, Thailand believed that ASEAN should rely more on growth from within, focusing on strengthening its economic integration and enhancing partnership with external partners. Prime Minister Yingluck also used this opportunity to seek ASEAN’s support for Thailand’s United Nations Security Council candidature for 2017-2018 and reaffirmed Thailand’s support for Myanmar to assume ASEAN Chairmanship in 2014.
At the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting with ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Prime Minister Yingluck exchanged views with other Leaders and ABAC representatives on various important economic issues, such as the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, the strengthening of the ASEAN business sector, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as the framework and principles for ASEAN+ FTA with its bilateral FTA dialogue partners. The Prime Minister also briefed the Meeting on the current situation of flooding in Thailand and reiterated commitment to pursue a comprehensive relief and recovery plan and package to build confidence in the Thai economy within the ASEAN business sector.
At the end of the summit, Prime Minister Yingluck joined other ASEAN leaders in the signing of the Bali Declaration on the ASEAN Community in the global community of nations and witnessed the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center) and the Declaration on ASEAN Unity in Cultural Diversity: Towards Strengthening the ASEAN Community by ASEAN foreign ministers.