During the Summit, ASEAN Leaders also met with the representatives of various sectors who are stakeholders in the ASEAN process, that is, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), ASEAN Youth, and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council. These meetings gave us a good opportunity for our ASEAN family to move forward together to create a people-centred ASEAN Community that leaves no one behind and looks to the future. This is in line with the Thailand ASEAN Chairmanship theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, which received full support from Leaders.
The 34th ASEAN Summit began on the 22nd of June with the Plenary Session, and was followed by the Retreat Session this morning. The Leaders supported Thailand’s initiatives and undertakings to enhance sustainability for ASEAN in all dimensions. This will enable ASEAN to respond to changes and challenges such as the 4th Industrial Revolution, climate change, and competition between countries outside the region. ASEAN’s work over the past five months under the Thai Chairmanship has been guided by our theme. Progress has been made in a number of areas. We have focused on enhancing sustainable security, promoting seamless ASEAN connectivity and pursuing sustainable development in order to increase ASEAN’s strategic value-added and bring about regional stability and prosperity. The intention of the ASEAN Leaders to do all of this has been reaffirmed through the adoption of the “ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability.”
In efforts to create a sustainable and safe region for our peoples, ASEAN agreed to focus on the issue of marine debris, which has a widespread impact on the well-being, health and hygiene of people and marine animals and resources. The Summit therefore adopted the “Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region,” which demonstrates ASEAN’s commitment to addressing the problem of marine debris in a serious and sustainable manner by supporting innovation and ideas, building capacity in research and the application of scientific knowledge as well as encouraging the involvement of all stakeholders. We will continue our close discussions on how to implement and take these initiatives forward.
On emergencies and disasters preparedness, such as the recent building collapse in Cambodia resulting in the loss of lives, the ASEAN Leaders expressed our condolences and our heartfelt support to the Cambodian Leader. In response to such matters, ASEAN Leaders launched the Satellite Warehouse under the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA). We have also included the ASEAN Center of Military Medicine (ACMM) as a subsidiary body under the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) in Annex 1 of the ASEAN Charter. Both Centres are located in Thailand.
The Meeting attached importance to ASEAN awareness-raising and the promotion of ASEAN identity in every generation, be they children, teenagers, working adults or senior citizens. ASEAN Leaders thereby adopted the “ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019”. Despite the diverse cultures in the region, there will be activities throughout the year to celebrate this initiative. A Network of ASEAN Associations, which is an initiative of Thailand, will also be established. ASEAN also values the participation of all stakeholders, including the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), youth and the private sector, and seeks to promote their continued engagement as a reaffirmation of the importance of a people-centred and inclusive ASEAN Community. In light of the knowledge and income gaps, it is important for us to ensure that our people will fully benefit from ASEAN cooperation.
The Summit agreed with Thailand’s initiative to reinforce ASEAN’s leading role in the conduct of relations with external partners in the region. After comprehensive deliberations ASEAN has developed an outlook on the various Indo-Pacific concepts proposed by external partners highlighting enhanced cooperation in four areas that are constructive and mutually beneficial. This common approach follows on from the suggestion I made at the East Asia Summit in the Philippines in 2017 that ASEAN needed to play a role in bridging the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Therefore I wish to express my appreciation to His Excellency the President of Indonesia, who has played an important role in driving the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which ASEAN agreed to have it anchored on such universally recognized principles as mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual interest, and supports a rules-based approach as well as the principles contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). ASEAN believes that cooperation under the Indo-Pacific concept should be based on inclusiveness and ASEAN centrality. It should also complement existing frameworks of cooperation at the regional and sub-regional levels and generate tangible and concrete deliverables for the benefit of the region’s peoples.
The Summit also reiterated the importance of strengthening the regional economy. We also support the conclusion of the RCEP negotiations this year, as it will help ASEAN manage change and uncertainty in the region, especially as regards the trade tension between ASEAN’s important trading partners.
In addition, ASEAN is pleased to have a new ASEAN Secretariat Building which will be officially inaugurated on the ASEAN Day, 8 August 2019. This new building will enable ASEAN to work in a more effective manner.
Finally, I wish to inform our ASEAN peoples that today, the Leaders supported the shared wish of ASEAN to develop a joint bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2034.
In this regard, I wish to invite all ASEAN peoples to collectively support the national football associations of ASEAN Member States with a view to realising this dream together.
With regard to the trade frictions, there will be discussions on this matter during the G20 Summit. Four ASEAN Leaders from Thailand, Singapore, Viet Nam and Indonesia will attend the G20 Summit along with the leaders of the two countries concerned. I anticipate that the G20 Summit will seek to resolve this problem that is affecting every country.
On behalf of the Royal Thai Government, I would like to thank all of you for supporting Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship and the 34th ASEAN Summit. In addition, I would like to thank all agencies and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand for rendering their support, contributing to the success of this Summit. We have been commended on our warm hospitality and the organisation of the social functions, cultural performances and meetings. In addition, ASEAN Leaders also congratulated the President of Indonesia on his re-election as well as my election which will enable us to continue our work over the past 5 years. I would also like to thank the media for their interest in, and reporting about, this Summit. And in November this year, Thailand will host another ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, this time with the participation of Leaders from outside the region.
I wish to inform you that ASEAN Leaders will jointly push forward cooperation under the ASEAN framework for concrete outcomes to strengthen ASEAN from the inside out. In every meeting, I emphasized the need to plan and prioritize. Some initiatives have to be implemented concurrently, while others have to be done step-by-step. Nevertheless, we need to act as quickly as possible. Our close cooperation will further strengthen ASEAN. We can not solve any problems on our own. As ASEAN is comprised of small-sized countries, we need to strengthen and enhance our capacity. In this regard, ASEAN Member States have been working closely and have exchanged constructive views on several issues of common concern, including traditional and non-traditional security threats, cyber threats, the problem of hate speech and the negative effects of social media. We need to safeguard the human rights and reinforce laws and implement laws to effectively manage this matter. We also need to forge a common understanding between the younger and older generations that change takes time. With a population of more than 650 million people and RCEP as the main driving economic tool, we can enhance our strength and thereby our bargaining power. In addition, I also raised issues relating to our agricultural products, such as rubber and palm oil. The Leaders of the three largest producers agreed that they will further discuss to find clear measures to resolve these issues, such as the future trading in the market. On energy, we should promote green energy and effective waste management.
This Summit is beneficial for Thailand and ASEAN Member States. All ASEAN Delegates were pleased with our warm hospitality and their stay in Thailand. The Spouses of the ASEAN Leaders also visited the National Museum of Royal Barges where a chanting demonstration usually performed during a Royal Barge Procession was presented. The Leaders expressed their congratulations on the auspicious occasion of the coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn. They also commended the dynamic and vibrant progress in Thailand. This is something we should be proud of. Our world is heading towards the digital age, and we need to understand each other in order to move forward together.
I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this Summit. I will do my best to ensure that the political process in Thailand continues to move steadily forward. Every ASEAN Leader expressed their support, I reassured them that a government will be formed by next month. Therefore, it is important for Thai people to have a common understanding on this matter and resolve our differences to advance forward together.
I will conclude my remarks by giving you the big picture and the achievements of the 34th ASEAN Summit. This Summit is the first major meeting in the first five months of our Chairmanship. Now, we have to prepare for the second Summit this November which will be attended by major powers, as ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners. I hope that the Thai people, government and relevant sectors will further enhance their collaboration to realise our common goal of advancing towards a sustainable ASEAN. By awaking our ASEAN DNA, we will be able to overcome any challenges. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be the focal point to follow up discussions on pending issues. We will review the progress made on our Chairmanship’s deliverables at the 35th ASEAN Summit which will be held at the end of this year. Outcome documents will be adopted to translate our vision into concrete actions, especially our resolve to conclude RCEP negotiations by this year. I would like to thank all of you again. Next, I will attend the IMT-GT Summit where we will discuss important issues, such as infrastructure, the digital economy, and smart cities.