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Foreign ministers look forward to ASEAN’s 50th anniv

BORACAY, Philippines – Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are looking forward to the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the organization this year.
In a press briefing after the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat at the Shangri-La Hotel here, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said that ASEAN’s 50th founding anniversary commemorates five decades of cooperation and community building in the Southeast Asian region.
“The Ministers looked forward to the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN this year, commemorating five decades of cooperation and Community-building in ASEAN and emphasized the importance of continuing to promote initiatives that directly benefit the people of the ASEAN”, he said.
He said there is a need to redouble efforts to increase intra-regional trade and further strengthen mechanisms for extending consular assistance to ASEAN nationals consistent with ASEAN’s goal for deeper regional integration, and the usefulness of tapping ASEAN think tanks to assist in charting the future direction of ASEAN.
The retreat in Boracay was the first gathering of the ASEAN foreign ministers under the Philippines’ chairmanship with the theme,”Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.”
During the retreat, the ministers discussed the organization’s six priorities: a people-oriented ASEAN, peace and stability, maritime security and cooperation, inclusive innovation-led growth, resiliency, and the ASEAN as a model of regionalism and a global player.
They also discussed the way forward for ASEAN Community building, including the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, especially the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint, and strengthening of ASEAN’s external relations and maintaining ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture.
Yasay also said that the Ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest and concern and discussed ways of promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond.
These issues include non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism, piracy and armed robbery at sea, cybersecurity, natural disasters, climate change, irregular migration, trafficking in persons and illicit drugs, maritime security and cooperation, and developments in various regions, including the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea, among others, as well as sustainable development.
Yasay added that the Ministers agreed on the need to maintain ASEAN centrality and unity, including having a credible, collective and cohesive ASEAN response in addressing domestic and regional challenges.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.