“ASEAN success has been unprecedented… The once fragmented economies now form part of a thriving robust community projected to become the world’s fourth largest by 2050,” said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay at the launching of the ASEAN Summit 2017 here.
Yasay is optimistic that ASEAN members will overcome various challenges facing the region, such as new concerns of security threats.
“(These challenges) make our job not less complex, not less easy or not less difficult. And yet, we are now better prepared to embrace disruptive events that threaten the peace and security of the region with our solid and unbreakable alliance because we as a region, as ASEAN, are committed to ride and surmount the quest of that wave called change, the ASEAN way,” he said.
Yasay said ASEAN is an economic powerhouse with gross domestic product (GDP) now the third largest in Asia and the seventh largest in the world. The region has attracted around $ 120 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI).
He noted that ASEAN has made key breakthroughs with the conclusion of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA); and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is taking shape with the free movement of goods, services, capital and skilled labor.
“This year, 2017, ASEAN stands proud and ready to confront the challenges and tremendous opportunities before us and move forward together in playing a greater responsibility in world affairs with the enduring legacy of peace, security and prosperity,” he added.
ASEAN groups 10 countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
This year is a milestone for the Philippines as it hosts ASEAN Summit on the occasion of its 50th founding anniversary. (PNA)