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Apr 24, 2024 / 15:47

ASEAN: Key actor in peace, security and stability-building

ASEAN upholds established principles and sets new standards in the region where all nations are empowered to make future decisions and where all goods, services, capital flows, and ideas are freely transferred.

ASEAN is the key player in maintaining and enhancing regional security, a seminar at the ASEAN Future Forum 2024 heard on April 23.

 The plenary session on ensuring comprehensive security for a people-centered ASEAN community at the ASEAN Future Forum 2024 in Hanoi. Photo:

Addressing the seminar, Retno Marsudi, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, said that security is one of the most critical issues for ASEAN nations, and it requires comprehensive measures.

ASEAN nations need to be adaptable and creative to global uncertainties, including geopolitical tensions, wars, climate change, energy security and transnational criminals, which have a negative impact on the regional security architecture, she said.

ASEAN member states must take the lead in changing the Indian Ocean and Pacific regions, particularly in Southeast Asia, she added.

It is necessary to develop a strong, resilient ASEAN community capable of dealing with obstacles and challenges, Retno said in a video addressed to the seminar.

According to the Indonesian official, ASEAN countries should be more united to maintain peace, cooperation, and development in the Indo-Pacific through win-win approaches and discussions.

She also urged the region and global communities to follow and enforce international laws thoroughly while ASEAN nations taking care of digital governance and improve people's digital skills to become the center of all actions and goals.

From Australia, the President of the Australian Senate, Sue Lines, welcomed Vietnam's initiative to create a new forum to discuss ways to shape the future of ASEAN.

Australia's relationship with ASEAN is based on geography and 50 years of cooperation, respect, partnership, and trust, resulting in the two sides' Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, she said in a video message.

The Melbourne Declaration, adopted at the ASEAN-Australia Summit in March 2024, represents the commitment of both parties to create an open, inclusive and transparent region, the Australian politician said.

The region is where ASEAN holds the key to upholding established principles and setting new standards, where all nations are empowered to make their future decisions, and where all goods, services, capital flows, and ideas are freely transferred, Sue said.

Meanwhile, India fully supports the idea of a united ASEAN community, which will help shape a new and powerful structure in the Indo-Pacific region, said Dr. S.Jaishankar, India's External Affairs Minister.

ASEAN and India are committed to maintaining peace, stability, security and prosperity in the region and to abiding by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), he said.

He urged both sides to build a joint supply chain that is secure, diverse, transparent and self-reliant in the future.

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, stressed that ASEAN provides solutions to issues that regional countries can't solve independently.

He called on member states to converge and accelerate digital transformation and green energy transition.

The UK looks forward to further cooperation with ASEAN to seize opportunities and minimize risks, the former British Prime Minister reiterated.

Tony Blair thanked the Vietnamese government, particularly Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, for having the idea to host this forum to build a better future for the people of ASEAN.

Meanwhile, Kavi Chongkittavorn, a senior fellow at the Institute of Security and International Studies at Thailand's Chulalongkorn University, highlighted Vietnam's role in bringing about change in the region and connecting stakeholders to shape the future of ASEAN.

In his closing remarks, Vietnam's Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son said that all delegates had put forward valuable ideas to shape the future of ASEAN, where people can enjoy security, sustainability, and growth.