Asean leaders pledge solidarity

Asean leaders pledge solidarity
(From L to R) Philippine President Benigno Aquino, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai deputy Prime Minister Phongthepth Epkanjana, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, Myanmar President Thein Sein, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong join hands as they pose for a photograph at the start of the 24th ASEAN summit at the Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyidaw on May 11, 2014.

Leaders of the 24th ASEAN Summit have agreed to enhance strong efforts to build an ASEAN Community by 2015 and continue boosting development beyond 2015.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Summit yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, President U Thein Sein underscored that the association needed to strengthen solidarity and maintain unity to successfully build an ASEAN Community and effectively respond to new challenges.

The Summit also dedicated much attention to the East Sea issue. Amidst the serious situation in the East Sea caused by China's deployment of a drilling rig and a huge number of escort ships deep in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, ASEAN leaders affirmed that the association's members needed to raise a common voice to express deep concern and highlight the importance of strict implementation of international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

The leaders agreed that all disputes must be settled by peaceful measures, practising self- restraint and not complicating the situation. They also highlighted the need to build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) at an early date.

These contents are part of the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on building an ASEAN Community by 2015. The declaration emphasises the need to strengthen cooperation to ensure the full and effective implementation of the DOC as well as principles widely acknowledged in international law and UNCLOS.

Myanmar President U Thein Sein, who presided over the event, hailed the significant contributions by leaders of the bloc to the success of the summit.

Leaders from the member countries agreed that the bloc needed to continue improving the mechanism to improve the operational and coordinative efficiency among its agencies, in addition to enhancing the operation of the ASEAN Secretariat to support the bloc's future targets.

Regarding the post-2015 development orientations, the leaders affirmed that the ASEAN Community should promote its key role in settling regional issues and concentrate on improving social welfare and coping with challenges posed by natural disasters and climate change.

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