Over the past five decades, member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have put forward huge efforts to realise the spirit of the 1967 Bangkok Declaration: “For a Southeast Asian region of peace, freedom and prosperity”.
The statement was made by Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh in an article on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the bloc’s founding.
In the article, he said the ASEAN Community, established in 2015, is striving to realise the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 with encouraging initial results.
ASEAN countries have been making efforts to promote dialogues, strengthen co-operation, build trust, promote compliance with international law and share the common values and norms recognised in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), the ASEAN Charter, the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
In addition, ASEAN has demonstrated its bravery and ability to maintain solidarity and unity in issues affecting regional peace and security such as the South China Sea (called East Sea by Việt Nam) issue, the Muslim issue in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and the Korean Peninsula issue. Co-operation to prevent non-traditional security challenges continues to be promoted.
The bloc has achieved stable economic growth with a predicted rate of 4.9 per cent in 2019 and a total gross domestic product of US$3 trillion.
It has reached out to top economic partners through free trade agreements and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
ASEAN has also become a very attractive tourist destination, with intra-bloc tourist arrivals reaching approximately 50 million in 2018 and international tourist arrivals hitting nearly 130 million.
The rights of people in the region have been promoted through efforts to combat climate change, natural disasters and epidemics; the protection of vulnerable groups; visa-free movement among ASEAN countries for a period of 15 to 30 days; freedom to seek employment through mutual recognition agreements; and the provision of consular assistance.