KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 22 (PNA/Kyodo/Xinhua) — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced here Sunday at the 27th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) the establishment of ASEAN Community on Dec. 31, 2015.
Leaders from 10 Southeast Asian countries on Sunday formally declared the establishment of a single community and unveiled a blueprint for greater integration over the next 10 years.
The leaders marked the milestone with the signing of the “2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community” and the “Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together,” which took place on the sidelines of their two-day summit meeting that began Saturday.
The ASEAN Community 2015 to be established at the end of this year entails closer integration through three pillars of political security, economic and socio-cultural based on the 2009-2015 road map that laid out actions for members to undertake.
The “Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025” is a broadly worded statement that lays out the ideals of a community in the next 10 years.
“This is about how we build upon and deepen the integration process to realize a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN Community in which we seek to narrow the development gap. It is an ambitious document — but ambition is part of our heritage,” said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in his speech to open the ASEAN summit on Saturday.
Under the economic community blueprint, the grouping, having a combined population of more than 625 million people, envisions an integrated market and production base with free flow of goods, services, investments, skilled labor and capital.
The bloc’s combined GDP is expected to reach 4.7 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020, and it is estimated that ASEAN has the potential to be the fourth largest economy in the world as early as 2030, only 15 years from now, Najib commented.
“Our ‘ASEAN Way’ has guided us, and will continue to be our compass as we seek to realize a politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible, and truly people-oriented, people-centered and rules-based ASEAN.”
“With further liberalization and integration come still greater prizes: it is estimated that the measures we are implementing under the ASEAN Economic Community will raise overall GDP (gross domestic products) in ASEAN by 7 percent by 2025. That will be a gain for our economies in the hundreds of billions,” Najib said.
The ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 will contain measures to boost living conditions, such as tackling poverty, environmental issues, labor, disaster management and education.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. It aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress and socio-cultural evolution among its members. (PNA/Kyodo/Xinhua)