ASEAN’s success rests on its open, inclusive and outward-looking nature: Chairman

KUWAIT: Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister of Kuwait Ali Sulaiman Al-Saeed (center) and ambassadors of the Association of South East Asian Nations participate in a ceremony hosted by the Malaysian Embassy yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Diplomats from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) marked its 51st anniversary at the Malaysian Embassy yesterday with native cuisines and cultural performances. The event was graced by Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister of Kuwait Ali Sulaiman Al-Saeed, Ambassador of Thailand, the current chairman of ASEAN, Dusit Manapan, and other dignitaries. “Today marks the 51st anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations since it was founded in August 1967. If we compare ASEAN with a human, ASEAN today is a matured adult full of life experiences. As a regional grouping, it has shouldered responsibilities for promoting well-being and a more secure, stable and peaceful environment for its people, region as well as the world,” Dusit said in his opening speech.

He said ASEAN has been consistent in its aspirations in pursuing its aims and purposes enshrined in the Bangkok Declaration, namely accelerate economic growth, social progress, cultural development and promote regional peace and stability. Dusit said ASEAN has grown to become a highly competitive economic community of 10 vibrant and fast-growing economies with a total population of about 620 million people, adding the ASEAN community’s combined output exceeds $2.5 trillion. “We have a good reason to be proud of our success, even though there are still many challenges ahead to overcome,” he said.

The chairman said the success of ASEAN rests on its open, inclusive and outward-looking nature. “ASEAN has never failed to embrace and cultivate ties with external partners. Our leaders from generation to generation realized the importance of external linkages in community-building efforts. We have several regular meetings with all key global players and regional groupings including the GCC and international organizations. Up to now ASEAN has 11 dialogue partners which include the EU and the United Nations, 78 accredited ambassadors from non-ASEAN member states and organizations around the world and 42 ASEAN committees in third countries,” Dusit added.

The ASEAN Community in Kuwait or ACK comprises nine resident ambassadors and one non-resident ambassador of Singapore. “We have organized regular activities ranging from meetings and seminars to cultural events like fashion, dance, food and film shows to sports like bowling, soccer, badminton and ping-pong to solidarity promoting events like the ASEAN family day with the aim to raise ASEAN awareness in our host country. We are very thankful for the good cooperation we have received from the local agencies. The ACK will continue to work to boost the ASEAN profile as well as foster close collaboration with the local Kuwaiti authorities and the private sector at all levels,” he said.

By Ben Garcia