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Remarks by H.E Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of the Lao PDR at the Press Conference on the Outcomes of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and  Related Summits

8 September 2016

Good afternoon members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

·      It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the Press Conference of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits under the theme, “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community”, held from 6 to 8 September 2016.

·     It is a great pleasure for the Lao PDR to assume the Chairmanship of ASEAN for the second time in 2016, which also marks the first year of the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 towards tangible results.

·     It has been my great honor to host and chair the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits during the past three days.

·     On this occasion, 12 Summits have been held:

-       2 Summits have been convened among ASEAN Leaders namely the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits. On the sidelines of these Summits, the ASEAN Leaders also met with Representatives of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Representatives of ASEAN Youth, and ASEAN Business Advisory Council.

-      9 Summits have been organized with ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners under the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three (APT) and East Asia Summit (EAS) cooperation frameworks.

-      In addition, we also had the Mekong-Japan Summit held under the sub-regional cooperation framework.

-      Besides these Summits, a number of bilateral meetings have also been held.

·      During all Meetings, we have had very comprehensive, candid and fruitful discussions.

·      At the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits, ASEAN Leaders discussed the Implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and enhancing cooperation with ASEAN’s external partners.

-       We reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen and advance the ASEAN Community through the effective implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the three community Blueprints. We adopted the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 which form an integral part of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

-       ASEAN Leaders also signed the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region and adopted several outcome documents aimed at realizing the 8 priorities for ASEAN Chairmanship 2016 and implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

-       We reiterated the importance of further strengthening cooperation with Dialogue Partners as well as enhancing ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture through the ASEAN-led mechanisms, namely ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three (APT), ADMM-Plus, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit (EAS). Moreover, we agreed to explore appropriate modalities for engagement with countries that expressed their interests in forming partnership with ASEAN on the basis of mutual benefit and contributing towards ASEAN Community building. On the occasion of these Summits, ASEAN accepted the accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) by Chile, Egypt and Morocco.

-       For more details on the outcomes, please refer to the Chairman’s Statement of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits, which was issued yesterday.  

Members of the media,

·         With external partners, the ASEAN Leaders have held Summits with Dialogue Partners namely China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, United States, Australia and the United Nations where the Leaders of ASEAN and Dialogue Partners have agreed to enhance cooperation in all areas to ensure more efficiency and effectiveness, particularly cooperation in trade, investment, connectivity, tourism, people-to-people exchange and others, based on mutual benefit. Moreover, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and East Asia Summit have also been held.

-         The ASEAN-China Summit this year commemorated the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations and adopted the Joint Statement of the 19th ASEAN-China Summit to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations and also other outcome documents.

-         This year for the first time that an ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit was convened following the elevation of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations to a strategic level in 2014 and the agreement to convene biennial Leaders’ Summit.

-      At the ASEAN Plus Three Summit, we reiterated our commitment to enhancing ASEAN Plus Three cooperation as an important mechanism with the long term goal of building an East Asian Community through the effective implementation of cooperation work plan and organizing activities to commemorate the 20th anniversary of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation in 2017. On this occasion, ASEAN Plus Three Leaders adopted two outcome documents: 1) ASEAN Plus Three Statement on Promoting Sustainable Development Cooperation which was introduced by the Lao PDR; and 2) ASEAN Plus Three Statement on Active Ageing, which are documents of strategic importance aimed at promoting sustainable development and well-being of our peoples in the region.

-      The East Asia Summit (EAS) was attended by 18 countries, namely ASEAN Member States, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, and Russian Federation. The Summit reaffirmed the EAS as a Leaders-led forum to discuss broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern as well as our commitment to strengthening this cooperation framework. We adopted the Vientiane Declaration on Promoting Infrastructure Development Cooperation in East Asia proposed by the Lao PDR as well as other outcome documents.

·        For more details on the outcomes of these Summits, please refer to the Chairman’s Statements of the respective Summits, which have already been issued.

Distinguished Members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

·        Throughout all Summits, we also had frank, candid and constructive exchange of views on regional and international issues of common interest and concern.

·        In conclusion, I would like to inform the media that the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits concluded with great success. 

·         At the Closing Ceremony, which has just been concluded recently, Lao PDR handed over the Chairmanship of ASEAN to the Philippines. However, Lao PDR will continue to carry out the role of ASEAN Chair until 31 December 2016.

·         The Philippines will assume ASEAN Chairmanship from 1 January 2017 onwards, which is the year that will mark the 50th Anniversary of the founding of ASEAN and ASEAN Member States will celebrate this significant and meaningful year, including through tourism promotion under the campaign “Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration” launched by the ASEAN leaders during the Opening Ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and related Summits on 6 September 2016.

·        We trust that under the able Chairmanship of the Philippines in 2017, in addition to the significant celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN, the ASEAN Community will continue to gain new achievements, thus contributing to turning the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 into concrete action, ASEAN Community will continue to implementing the effective ASEN Community Vision 2025 into a reality. The Lao PDR will continue to extend its full support to the Philippines’ Chairmanship of ASEAN in close cooperation with all ASEAN Member States, ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners as well as external parties, friendly countries and regional and international organizations aiming at further strengthening the ASEAN Community and deepening cooperation with external partners in accordance with ASEAN principles.

Members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

·      The success of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits as well as Lao PDR’s ASEAN Chairmanship over the past 8 months has been possible thanks to valuable assistance, support and cooperation extended to us by ASEAN Member States, ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, other external parties as well as friendly countries and regional and international organizations. Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Lao Government and the multi-ethnic Lao people, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to you all for such valuable assistance and support, and I look forward to your continued assistance and support for Lao PDR’s ASEAN Chairmanship until 31 December 2016 and in the coming years.

·     On behalf of the Government of the Lao PDR, I would like to also take this opportunity to commend all officials, military and police officers, the business sector, merchants and all Lao multi-ethnic people for your active contributions, in accordance with your respective roles and responsibilities, to the success of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits.

·      Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere thanks to members of the media for your interest and coverage of the activities of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits and other activities throughout the past 8 months of Laos’ ASEAN Chairmanship. I thank all members of the media for the support and cooperation.

·      Before I conclude this press conference, I welcome a few questions from the media before I proceed to bilateral meetings later on.

·      Please the floor is open.

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