The vibrant growth of ASEAN economies is one of the factors in sustaining the Asian economic expansion, with ASEAN playing an active role in promoting regional connectivity, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency on the sidelines of the 45th World Economic Forum (WEF) held on January 21-24 in Davos, Switzerland.
He suggested the bloc focus on ensuring integration within the group as well as the feasibility and competitiveness of the ASEAN Community in order to reap more rewards of regional integration in a new global context.
A strong ASEAN Community was necessary for its members to promote greater regional integration as a source of motivation for domestic reforms and turning opportunities into tangible benefits which would help address common challenges such as security threats, environmental pollution, climate change and development gaps, he noted.
He pointed to the necessity to respect ASEAN’s principle of neutrality in pushing forward deeper and broader integration.
He suggested each ASEAN member nation step up the pace of economic reform and restructuring while making necessary preparations in terms of economic institutions, infrastructure and human resources, making it easier to lever the ASEAN Community and free trade agreements with major partners in and outside the region.-