An ASEAN flag hoisting ceremony was held in Hanoi on August 7 to mark the 53rd founding anniversary of the association and 25 years of Vietnam's ASEAN membership.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh chaired the event, which also drew ambassadors of ASEAN member countries to Vietnam and leaders of a number of ministries and Hanoi.
Addressing the ceremony, Minh underlined that over the past 53 years, ASEAN has made a big step forward. By embracing 10 member nations, ASEAN has turned Southeast Asia from a land of discord to a land of concord, from confrontation to cooperation, and from poverty to dynamic development, he said.
He noted that through its Community building, ASEAN enables Southeast Asia to thrive as a big family of six hundred and fifty millions people with a combined GDP of 3 trillion USD and as a peaceful, stable and resilient region with dynamic, vibrant economies.
The Vietnamese Deputy PM held that the association is facing major, unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fast changing geo-strategic landscape as well as emerging non-traditional security issues.
"But these are causes to be discouraged. Instead, these call for a more cohesive, responsive ASEAN, which retains its firm centrality in the region. The encouraging results achieved in the first half of 2020 bear testament to ASEAN that never wavers at any hardship," he stated.
According to Minh, chairing ASEAN this year is a great honour for Vietnam as 2020 coincides with the 25th anniversary of the country accession to ASEAN.
Under Vietnam's Chairmanship, ASEAN has taken well-coordinated measures to collectively respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, protect the health of our peoples, cushion the negative impacts on our economies, and prepare for a comprehensive recovery to emerge from the pandemic, he said.
"Although the tough battles to defeat the pandemic and to revamp the economies are still ahead, I would like to emphasize that ASEAN's future is bright," he underlined.
With the "Think Community, Act Community" approach, Vietnam will continue to work closely with our ASEAN sisters and brothers as well as with external partners and the international community to build a united and resilient ASEAN Community.
"Shoulder to shoulder, we can rise above any challenges and move ASEAN forward," the official stressed
He revealed that ASEAN Foreign Ministers will issue the Statement on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asiaon the ASEAN Day of August 8, 2020.
In the context of complex and growing uncertainties in the world, this statement will reaffirm ASEAN's vision, commitments and fundamental principles to build ASEAN into a region of peace, progress and prosperity as aspired in the 1967 Bangkok Declaration, he said.
The ASEAN flag has four colours of blue, red, white and yellow, representing the main colours of the flags of all the ASEAN members. The stalks of padi in the centre of the Emblem represent the dream of ASEAN's Founding Fathers for an ASEAN comprising all the countries in Southeast Asia, bound together in friendship and solidarity. The circle represents the unity of ASEAN.
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