Courtesy Call on Singapore Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, 2 August 2018, Singapore. From left: ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Myanmar International Cooperation Minister Kyaw Tin, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (centre), Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Brunei Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Erywan bin Pehin Yusof, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith
(Photo credit: Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore)
SINGAPORE – The 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings have officially started in Singapore.
This year’s Chairman, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, emphasized the need to further strengthen regional architecture amid the ongoing success of the ASEAN economic community.
Prime Minister Lee noted the growing uncertainties in the region’s geopolitics and how each member nation is affected by the pressures of bigger powers. He added that the only way for the bloc to “remain relevant” is to stay united. He also emphasized economic integration and technology adoption as two areas where ASEAN can do more.
Currently, ASEAN is working on the establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the realization of the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Arrangement. These two, according to Lee, will “highlight ASEAN’s commitment to trade liberalization and economic integration.”
Through Singapore’s chairmanship, Lee said the regional bloc is working to build up the regional bloc’s digital connectivity through the formation of the Smart Cities Network.
“Singapore hopes that these cities will come together to establish a common framework for smart city development and to develop city-specific action plans and innovative projects that will improve the lives of our peoples,” he said.
Prior to the opening ceremony, the bloc’s foreign ministers paid a courtesy call to Prime Minister Lee at Singapore Expo with the Philippines represented by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. – Maila Guevarra / Marje Pelayo