The last ASEAN summit of the year will be held next week in Ha Noi.
The 17th ASEAN summit would be the region's most important meeting of the year where top regional leaders would meet with all of their partners, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dao Viet Trung at a press briefing yesterday in Ha Noi.
The American and Russian foreign ministers were set to attend the summit as special guests for the first time, said Trung, and would become official partners of the ASEAN. As official partners, their leaders would join the regional summits next year in Indonesia.
Leaders of the 10 regional member countries and senior officials of the region's partners will arrive in Ha Noi on Monday for the preparatory meetings taking place from October 26-27. There will be 11 meetings at the three-day summit, including those among the regional leaders and those among ASEAN leaders and their partners.
The East Asia Summit (EAS) will also be held as part of the general ASEAN meetings. The EAS, which started in Kuala Lumpur in 2005, will see its greatest participation yet as the leaders of the 10 regional members will meet with their partners: China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Russia and the US.
The focus of next week's discussions will be on accelerating the building of an ASEAN community and on implementing the ASEAN Charter, as well as on measures to strengthen relations between the ASEAN and its partners.
The leaders and senior officials from 18 countries and the UN will discuss measures to boost co-operation in responding to global challenges and exchange views on international and regional issues of common concern.
"This will be the last regional summit of the year where the member leaders will review the organisation's current co-operation within the region and with the partners," said Trung. "At the summit they will also work out plans and measures to strengthen co-operation and extend the association's partnership with other countries in the future."
The ASEAN leaders would adopt joint statements, which will include a master plan on ASEAN connectivity—an important element to help develop the region and build the ASEAN community by 2015, said Trung.
The joint statements put forth by Viet Nam pertain to developing human resources for economic recovery and sustainable development, and the Ha Noi Declaration which promotes welfare and the development of women and children.
"The Vietnamese initiatives are supported by the regional countries as they are another step toward regional economic recovery and sustainable development, as well as means of strengthening the ASEAN," said Trung.
Under Viet Nam's ASEAN chairmanship, Ha Noi hosted the 16th summit in April, and many other related meetings were held throughout the year.
"The regional association has made great strides under Viet Nam's chairmanship, which prioritises building the ASEAN community, extending its co-operation with partners while maintaining its central role, and the co-ordination among regional members and partners to address the challenges of sustainable development," Assistant Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh told reporters at the briefing yesterday.
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