EDITORIAL | ASEAN Summit 2017: Partnering for Change, Engaging the World

We are one with the Philippines in welcoming the delegates of the ASEAN Summit 2017. This coming together of leaders is a unique and important opportunity to discuss issues relevant to the region and collaborate on ideas for the future of the ASEAN nations.

It is also a time to review how the association can work together to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region, via joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations.

As stated in the aims and purposes of the ASEAN, among the objectives are promoting regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter; promoting active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields; providing assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres; collaborating more effectively for the greater utilisation of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of international commodity trade, the improvement of their transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of their peoples.

In addition, it aims to promote Southeast Asian studies; and to maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes, and explore all avenues for even closer cooperation among themselves.

It is also worth reviewing the fundamental principles on which this esteemed organization is built: mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations; the right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion; non-interference in the internal affairs of one another; settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner; renunciation of the threat or use of force; and effective cooperation among themselves.

We fervently hope that as the hot issues of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and multi-lateral agreements are discussed, the ASEAN leaders stay true to these aims and principles so that they will come up with solutions that are beneficial for every member nation.