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ASEAN Summit Focuses on Establishment of ASEAN Community
   2015-11-21 20:06:56    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Wang Mengzhen

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses the opening ceremony of the 27th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur Nov. 21, 2015. [Photo: Xinhua]

As part of the sessions at the ASEAN regional meetings, the 10 member countries are discussing a number of topics, including terrorism and the formal creation of an ASEAN Community by the end of this year.

CRI's Wang Mengzhen has the details.

 

During his opening remarks, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called on world leaders to combat Islamic terrorism following recent attacks around the globe.

"Our countries are in mourning, we all share in this grief. The perpetrators of these cowardly and barbaric acts do not represent any race, religion or creed, nor should we allow them to claim to do so. They are terrorists and should be confronted as such with the full force of the law."

In the wake of the deadly attacks, Malaysia deployed special security measures across Kuala Lumpur as leaders from 18 countries gathered for a series of summits over the weekend.

On Sunday, leaders are also due to announce the formation of the ASEAN Community as a unified economic entity after a decade-long effort.

The Malaysian Prime Minister said the new community means a lot to the future of ASEAN as a whole.

"And let me suggest that after tomorrow we will refer to ourselves as the ASEAN Community, a proud new name to mark this significant evolution in our association. For this is ASEAN's time. This is our time."

The community building process started in 2003 when leaders of the 10 member states reached consensus to set up an ASEAN Community.

In 2007, the leaders made a strong commitment to facilitating the ASEAN Community by the end of 2015, aiming at closer integration through political security, economic and socio-cultural links.

Last year, the leaders agreed in Brunei to push ahead with the ASEAN Roadmap and ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, reaffirming their efforts to realize the ASEAN Community on time.

So far, over 90 percent of measures listed in the blueprint have been carried out. Najib Razak says the next step is to work out how to overcome barriers concerning political and cultural differences among ASEAN members.

"It is estimated that the measures we are implementing under the ASEAN Economic Community will raise overall GDP in ASEAN by 7 percent by 2025. That will be an enormous gain for our economies in the hundreds of billions."

The new community is also expected to provide greater potential for China and ASEAN cooperation in infrastructure construction and cross-border trade.

ASEAN was established nearly 50-years ago as a political grouping of ten Southeast Asian nations.

As one of the five founding members of ASEAN, Malaysia has taken over the rotating chairmanship to speed up economic integration, and make ASEAN more inclusive.

For CRI, I am Wang Mengzhen

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