03
November
2019

Statement by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand at the Opening Ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits Sunday, 3 November 2019

03
November
2019

Statement by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand at the Opening Ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits Sunday, 3 November 2019

206

Statement by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
at the Opening Ceremony of the 3
5th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits
Sunday, 3 November 2019, at 09.00-09.30 hrs.
Grand Diamond Hall, IMPACT Arena, Exhibition & Convention Center

(as prepared on 2 November 2019)


(7 minutes)

(Live broadcast via MCOT HD)

Your Majesty,

Excellencies,

Honoured Guests,

1. May I extend a warm welcome to all of you to the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits here in Bangkok/Nonthaburi. Today, we are gathered here in partnership and friendship with the world to make our region a better place for all. Now please allow me to continue my remarks in Thai.

2. At the Opening Ceremony of the 34th ASEAN Summit, I spoke about the lyrics from the ASEAN anthem the ASEAN Way — specifically this part: “We dare to dream, we care to share”. This was to remind us of the need to continue to dare to dream from one generation to the next, and to build on our concerted efforts to create an ASEAN Community that is people-centred, leaves no one behind and looks to the future, as guided this year by the theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. Thus far this year, our strong partnership has produced many concrete deliverables, including the adoption of the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

3. To get us in the proper frame of mind for taking forward the outcomes of the 34th Summit, I wish to reference another part of the lyrics from the ASEAN Anthem, and that is: “ASEAN we are bonded as one. Looking out to the world.” These lyrics reflect ASEAN’s vision, which not only places great importance on partnerships within the region, but also on partnership with external partners, who are our “close and good friends” and have helped ASEAN realise our aspirations, extending the benefits of our work beyond the Southeast Asian region as well.

Your Majesty,

Honoured Guests,

4. Today, ASEAN and the world face increased challenges and uncertainties, whether it be the global economic slowdown which, according to the forecast of the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, will see the global economy expand at its slowest pace in ten years; geostrategic competition both at the global and regional levels, which is showing itself in the form of trade frictions and
other problems between some countries; challenges to multilateralism; transnational crime, which is estimated to cost more than 100 billion US Dollars a year; disruptive technology; climate change; environmental degradation; and marine debris. Therefore, close partnership and friendship will be crucial to enabling our region, which spans the Pacific and Indian Oceans, to tackle and overcome these challenges.

5. Our meetings over the next two days will be an important opportunity to demonstrate the partnership and friendship between ASEAN and the global community, a true coming together to take forward the outcomes of the last ASEAN Summit; and to craft a collective approach based on ASEAN centrality and its strength in being a friend to all and enemy to none in addressing regional and global challenges as well as promoting sustainability in all dimensions.

6. And we shall do so by taking two key approaches, namely, creating an environment conducive to peace and stability for the long term, together with promoting dynamic economic growth and sustainable development. These two approaches are effectively “two sides of the same coin”, and will further contribute to a sustainable Community for the region.

7. With regard to the first approach of creating a stable region, we must focus our efforts on enhancing strategic trust on the basis of the principle of the 3Ms, that is, mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual benefit, so as to reduce confrontation. We must also give importance to rules and norms. In this, we should continue to make use of important existing ASEAN instruments. For example, we should seek to apply the core principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, or TAC, to the wider region beyond ASEAN.   In this connection, we are pleased to welcome new High Contracting Parties to the TAC.  Indeed, this reflects the recognition given by external countries of the fundamental principles as well as rules and norms of cooperation in this region.  And we should also continue to develop mechanisms for economic dispute settlements.  We should also promote a strong regional architecture based on ASEAN centrality, whether that be the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three, ARF, or other ASEAN cooperation with Dialogue Partners.  We should also remain committed to negotiating the Code of Conduct, or COC, in the South China Sea between ASEAN and China, and we just held joint naval exercises between ASEAN and the United States, among other things.

8. With regard to creating a prosperous and sustainable region, we should continue to work to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, within this year to stimulate economic growth as well as trade and investment. We should also continue to support the multilateral trading system under the purview of the World Trade Organization as well as regional and sub-regional economic cooperation, including both ACMECS and the Greater Bay Area, or GBA, so as to enhance the economic resilience of ASEAN and the region going forward. In addition, we need to promote a seamless ASEAN through the “connecting the connectivities” approach both within the ASEAN region and beyond.  This includes physical, people-to-people, financial and digital connectivity.  Likewise, we need to take advantage of 4IR technology and innovation to create new economic opportunities for MSMEs, farmers, start-ups, and local entrepreneurs so as to enhance financial inclusion and strengthen industrial transformation in ASEAN.

9. To achieve all of this, ASEAN needs a new “growth paradigm”, one that fosters dynamic, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, leaves no one behind, and prioritises human capital development concurrently with environmental conservation. In particular, we should address the problems of marine debris through implementation of the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris, air pollution through implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, and IUU fishing through developing the ASEAN Network for Combating IUU Fishing. All of this calls for cooperation with ASEAN’s partners and friends.

10. Sustainable security and sustainable economic development require strong support both from within the region and beyond. Therefore, we must also give importance to enhancing solidarity among the people by promoting an ASEAN identity and cultural links, together with strengthening our partnerships with external partners.

Your Majesty,

Honoured Guests,

11. Over the past year, the close partnership among ASEAN Member States and the peoples in Southeast Asia has produced a number of concrete deliverables. These include the establishment of seven ASEAN Centres in Thailand. And today, I am very pleased that we will be jointly launching the last three of the seven Centres – namely, the ASEAN Training Centre for Social Work and Social Welfare, the ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation, and the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue.  They will serve as the fruits of our collective investment and cooperation for the benefit of all people in the region, our children and grandchildren, and the future of this region as a whole.

12. Today, I wish to invite all of you, once again, to join hands and hearts in partnership to carry forward and fulfill the aspirations of ASEAN’s Founding Fathers in the creation of a peaceful, stable and prosperous region, and in laying down a solid foundation for a secure, prosperous and sustainable ASEAN Community for our own generation and future generations. This is to ensure that the ASEAN Community, which is people-centred, leaves no one behind, and looks to the future, can effectively realise its aspirations through close cooperation within the region and with the international community for the benefit of humankind.

13. Once again, I wish to welcome all of you to Thailand.

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Statement by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand at the Opening Ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits