|The Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States gathered in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia for the 26th ASEAN Summit on April 26-27. By the end of the event, a Chairman’s Statement was issued. VNA/VNS Photo|
HA NOI (VNS) – The Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States gathered in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia for the 26th ASEAN Summit on April 26-27. At the end of the event, the Chairman’s Statement of the Summit was issued, in which ASEAN leaders shared their serious concerns expressed by some leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea).
Following is the full text of the Chairman’s Statement of the 26th ASEAN Summit.
We, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States, gathered in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia for the 26th ASEAN Summit on 26-27 April 2015, had productive discussions under the theme ‘Our People, Our Community, Our Vision’ which reflects the overarching spirit of Malaysia’s Chairmanship, namely to create a truly people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN comprising all areas of political and security cooperation, economic growth and socio-cultural development.
2. We expressed deep and heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Singapore on the demise of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, a true Statesman who had made significant contributions to his country, to ASEAN and to regional community-building.
3. We fully supported the eight priorities for ASEAN outlined by Malaysia during her Chairmanship in 2015, namely to formally establish the ASEAN Community; to develop the ASEAN Community’s post-2015 vision; to steer ASEAN closer to its peoples; to strengthen the development of SMEs in the region; to expand intra-ASEAN trade and investments; to strengthen ASEAN’s institutions; to promote regional peace and security through moderation; and to enhance ASEAN’s role as a global player.
4. We adopted the following documents as outcomes of the Summit:
– Kuala Lumpur Declaration on a People-Oriented, People-Centred ASEAN
– Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates
– Declaration on Institutionalising the Resilience of ASEAN and it’s Communities and Peoples to Disasters and Climate Change
ASEAN COMMUNITY BUILDING
5. We are pleased with the positive progress made since 2009 in implementing the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community comprising the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC), ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprints, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Strategic Framework and IAI Work Plan II (2009-2015) as well as the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, which have all contributed towards establishing an ASEAN Community by the end of 2015.
6. We agreed to further intensify our work to realise an ASEAN Community that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible in order to take advantage of current and future opportunities, and effectively respond to regional and international challenges.
7. We expressed satisfaction at the implementation of the provisions of the ASEAN Charter in providing the legal status and institutional framework for ASEAN since its adoption in 2007. We urged ASEAN Member States to ratify all outstanding legal instruments under the ASEAN Charter in a timely manner.
8. We continued to encourage the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) and the ASEAN Community Councils, with the support of the relevant Senior Officials and the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) to implement the recommendations of the High Level Task Force on Strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat and Reviewing the ASEAN Organs within the stipulated timeframes.
9. We are pleased to welcome the progress made thus far in developing the ASEAN Community’s Vision and the attendant documents for the three community pillars for the period of 2016-2025. We looked forward to the submission of the documents by the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) at the 27th ASEAN Summit.
ASEAN POLITICAL-SECURITY COMMUNITY
10. We reaffirmed the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as the key code of conduct governing inter-State relations in the region and a foundation for the maintenance of regional peace and stability. We agreed to deliberate on requests made by countries to accede to the TAC, in accordance with its revised guidelines for accession.
11. We reiterated our commitment to implementing the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty) and its Plan of Action and called on the Nuclear Weapon States to consider signing the Protocol to the SEANFWZ Treaty to further promote Southeast Asia as a region free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
12. We welcomed the significant contribution by AIPA to the ASEAN Community-building process and appreciated the interface with Representatives of AIPA. We are convinced that AIPA Representatives are significant intermediaries in the realisation of a “People-Centred ASEAN” as it is well placed to reach out directly to the people of ASEAN and promote the importance of an ASEAN Community and its benefits. We looked forward to the convening of the 36th AIPA on 6 – 12 September 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.
Global Movement of Moderates
13. We welcomed the adoption of the 2015 Langkawi Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates, which comprehensively outlines the philosophy of
moderation, which is an established ASEAN value, in all its dimensions. We recognised that moderation is an all-encompassing approach not only in resolving differences and conflicts peacefully but also for ensuring sustainable and inclusive development and equitable growth as well as promoting social harmony and mutual understanding within countries and regions.
ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)
14. We recognised the important role of the ASEAN Defence Ministers towards the realisation of the ASEAN Political-Security Community and welcomed the commitment of the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) which met in Langkawi, Malaysia, on 16 March 2015 in addressing common security challenges and its pledge to respond collectively to the threat of extremist organisation in the region.
15. We further noted the proposals made at the 9th ADMM to improve the region’s response to non-traditional security challenges on the basis of flexible, voluntary and non-binding participation by ASEAN member states, including the adoption of the Concept Paper on ASEAN Militaries Ready Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and the Concept Paper on the Establishment of an ASEAN Centre of Military Medicine (ACMM).
Response to the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism
16. We welcomed the convening of the East Asia Summit Symposium on Religious Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration, held in Singapore on 16 – 17 April 2015 and looked forward to the convening of the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism (SAMMRRVE) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as contributing to addressing the growing threat of radicalisation and violent extremism, and the real and present danger it poses to the ASEAN region.
Establishment of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters
17. We welcomed the decision of the ASEAN Ministers responsible for drug matters to institutionalise the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters which will provide political impetus to ASEAN cooperation on drug matters and strategic guidance to the Senior Officials on Drug Matters on a Drug-Free ASEAN.
ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights
18. We commended the work of AICHR in the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of ASEAN. We acknowledged on-going efforts by AICHR to streamline its programmes and activities throughout 2015. We looked forward to the finalisation of AICHR’s second Five-Year Work Plan 2016-2020, to be adopted at the forthcoming ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August 2015.
ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercises
19. We looked forward to the convening of the ARF Disaster Relief Exercises (ARF DiREx), to be held in Kedah and Perlis, Malaysia on 24-28 May 2015 which will contribute towards strengthening civilian-military coordination and support the effective implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) at the strategic and operational levels through a Table Top Exercise (TTX) and at the tactical level through the Field Training Exercise (FTX).
ASEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY
20. We were satisfied that the ASEAN economy grew by 4.4 per cent in 2014 amid challenges in the global economy. Domestic demand in our economies has remained resilient, supported mainly by private consumption. There were robust inflows of investments to the region, which in 2014 stood at USD136.2 billion, reflecting a 15.7 per cent year-on-year growth. ASEAN’s total trade was stable in 2014, amounting to USD2.53 trillion, a marginal increase of 0.8 per cent from the previous year.
21. The ASEAN economic growth is projected to improve in 2015 to 4.9 per cent, well above the latest global growth projections of 3.5 per cent. Investment is expected to further increase, as the ASEAN region remains an attractive investment destination with the establishment of the AEC and with continued focus on infrastructure development to improve connectivity.
22. We noted the continuing progress made in the implementation of the AEC Blueprint, and welcomed the full implementation to date of 458 measures of the AEC Scorecard targeted for ASEAN-wide implementation over the period 2008-2015. We commended the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) identification of pending prioritised key deliverables with the highest trade impact and that can be implemented within the year. In the context of the fully implemented measures to date and the high-priority measures identified by the AEM for implementation within 2015, we noted that the current rate of implementation of the AEC Scorecard stands at 90.5 per cent out of 506 measures.
23. We are generally satisfied with the progress in the implementation of the AEC measures, which through the adoption of the frameworks of rules and various liberalisation and facilitation measures, is sending a strong signal that the region is moving forward as an economic community by 1 January 2016. Since the adoption of the AEC Blueprint in 2007, the implementation of AEC measures have delivered many benefits to ASEAN businesses and consumers, from significant tariff liberalisation, efforts to improve trade facilitation measures through self-certification, harmonisation of technical regulations and standards, simplification of customs procedures, and the Mutual Recognition Arrangements on the movement of skilled professionals in the region. In fostering a business-enabling environment, ASEAN has also put in place legal structures on competition, consumer protection and intellectual property.
24. We welcomed the further elimination of tariffs by Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam on 1 January 2015. We welcomed progress in this area, with the elimination of duties on the remaining 7 per cent tariff lines by 2018, which will further contribute to the development of a more integrated regional market.
25. We further welcomed efforts taken towards developing a comprehensive action plan on trade facilitation and endorsed the reactivation of the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Joint Consultative Committee (ATF-JCC), comprising the public and private sectors, with the latter’s inclusion to promote a more proactive role in identifying specific issues as well as facilitate in ways to reduce or eliminate non-tariff barriers in the region.
26. We also welcomed the decision to improve on the ASEAN Consultation to Resolve Trade and Investment Issues (ACT), an internet-based mechanism intended as a network of government focal points between ASEAN Member States to address operational issues encountered in the implementation of economic agreements, and which will be re-launched by year’s end.
27. We were encouraged by the signing of the Protocol on the Legal Framework to Implement the ASEAN Single Window (PLF-ASW), which would expedite the implementation of the ASW measures. We encouraged all Member States to participate in the implementation of ASW in December 2015. We were pleased with the entry into force of the ASEAN Agreement on Customs in November 2014, and welcomed the completion of the signing of Protocol 7 on Customs under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit (AFAFGIT). These developments would support the free flow of goods across the region and enhance intra-ASEAN trade.
28. We noted with satisfaction that despite the challenges faced by Member States, good progress has been made in the liberalisation of services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS). We looked forward to the completion of the final AFAS package by end of 2015, as this would lead to substantial integration of the services sector, and to sustain and attract foreign direct investments into the region.
29. We welcomed the commencement of negotiations on the Ninth Package of Commitments on Air Transport Services under AFAS, which would further liberalise the air transport ancillary services in ASEAN and looked forward to its timely conclusion by end of 2015.
30. Investment regimes in ASEAN Member States continue to be enhanced through improvements and removal of restrictions under the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA), as well as through various other initiatives such as the on-going Investment Policy Reviews of several AMS conducted by the OECD. We looked forward to its full implementation in order to increase intra-ASEAN investments and to enhance ASEAN’s competitiveness in attracting investments into the region.
ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting
31. We welcomed the convening of the First Joint Meeting of the ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 21 March 2015. We further welcomed the commitment to develop an implementation plan for a post-2015 ASEAN financial integration under the Roadmap for Monetary and Financial Integration of ASEAN (RIA-fin).
32. We are pleased that the Protocol to Implement the Sixth Package of Financial Services Liberalisation under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services has been signed by all ASEAN Finance Ministers. The Protocol contains the enabling provision for the implementation of the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework (ABIF) towards achieving greater financial and economic integration.
33. We noted the good progress made in the area of capital market integration through a number of initiatives such as the adoption of the Principles for Product Transparency and Disclosure on Cross-Border Trade Settlement.
34. Recognising the contribution of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to the economic growth of the region, we looked forward to the announcement of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development (2016-2025), which will focus on access to finance, technology, enhancing management and marketing capability. Access to market information and strengthening microenterprises are important in enhancing SMEs’ competitiveness and resilience.
35. We recognised the economic contribution of young entrepreneurs in the region and the need to establish a platform to foster networking and share best practices amongst them. In this regard, we commended Malaysia’s efforts in organising the 1ASEAN Entrepreneurship Gathering, which was a prelude to the 1ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit (1AES) to be held at the sidelines of the 27th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in November 2015, aimed at facilitating people-to-people linkages and promoting economic development and growth within ASEAN.
36. We further welcomed the establishment of national chapters of the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA), designed to promote the inclusion of youth in entrepreneurial activities in the region. We looked forward to the establishment of similar networks involving women entrepreneurs.
37. We welcomed the launching of GOASEAN, an ASEAN-focused travel channel to promote ASEAN as a single tourism destination as well as to promote intra-ASEAN travel and appreciation of ASEAN culture and heritage.
Regional Growth Areas
38. We reiterated the importance of sub-regional growth areas, such as the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), the Greater Mekong Sub-Region Economic Co-operation (GMS), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMES), and the Cambodia-Lao-Viet Nam (CLV) Development Triangle, the Cambodia-Lao-Myanmar-Viet Nam (CLMV) cooperation, and other Mekong-subregional cooperation mechanisms, as important building blocks of the ASEAN Community 2015, and are committed to further strengthening strategic and institutional linkages as well as mobilising resources to improve coordination and bridge the development gap among these areas.
ASEAN SOCIO-CULTURAL COMMUNITY
39. We were pleased to adopt the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on a People-Oriented, People-Centred ASEAN, through which we outlined our desire to make ASEAN an even more effective vehicle in the realisation of our peoples’ aspirations for good governance, transparency, higher standards of living, sustainable development focusing on climate change and ‘the environment, the further empowerment of women as well as greater opportunities for all in ASEAN in a post-2015 era.
40. We took note of the views and proposals made by ASEAN Civil Society Representatives and also of the convening of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum and commended their contribution to the ASEAN Community-building process. We encouraged their continued constructive engagement in the process towards achieving a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community.
41. We welcomed the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Youth Representatives and took note of their desire for a peaceful and stable, economically resilient, socially and culturally responsible ASEAN Community. In a region where youth constitute 65 per cent of the population, ASEAN’s development strategy must include both men and women, and by extension its youth, if it is to succeed. We urged our youth to embrace innovation, critical thinking and problem solving skills in order to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
42. We welcomed the convening of the Forum for Spouses of ASEAN Heads of State/Government, held on 27 April 2015 in conjunction with the 26th ASEAN Summit. The Forum “Empowerment through Social Business” focused on increasing awareness on social business and its development in the alleviation of poverty. We urge the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD) and the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) to consider the recommendations of the Forum and further develop the concept of social business in achieving a caring and sharing society within ASEAN.
43. We reaffirmed our commitment to enhance cooperation to address the needs and interests as well as provide equal access to opportunities and raise the quality of life and standard of living for women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. We noted with satisfaction the successful convening of the Regional Conference on Social Impact of Climate Change on Women and Children in Cambodia on 25-26 March 2015 as part of the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) Work Plan (2011-2015), and took note of the ASEAN Regional Workshop on Gender Issues in Climate Change and Its Adaptation, to be organised in Malaysia in June 2015.
44. We expressed our commitment to promote a healthy, active and productive environment for elderly persons in the ASEAN region, so that the elderly may continue to play a vital role in their families and in society. To this end, we welcomed on-going efforts to finalise the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Ageing: Empowering Older Persons in ASEAN at the 11th SOMSWD, to be held in Malaysia in 2015.
45. We are resolved to move ASEAN forward, equipped with a higher level of knowledge and skills, to be inculcated through capacity building and knowledge management. ASEAN institutions of higher education should further enhance their role in developing graduates with the necessary attributes and competencies, able to contribute to the development and well-being of the ASEAN Community in the post-2015 era.
46. We recognise the contribution of migrant workers to both the society and economy of ASEAN and reiterated the importance of creating a secure and prosperous ASEAN Community. We stressed the need to improve the quality of life of the people of ASEAN and to safeguard their human rights and fundamental freedoms including the rights of migrant workers. We tasked the ASEAN Labour Ministers to continue working on the finalization of an ASEAN Instrument on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
47. We underlined the importance of enhancing cooperation in disaster management and emergency response to be better prepared to deal with natural disasters in our region. We welcomed the ASEAN Declaration on Institutionalising the Resilience of ASEAN and Its Communities and People to Disasters and Climate Change, which underscores the importance of building an ASEAN Community that is resilient to disaster and climate change, viewing resilience as a unifying, multi-faceted process and outcome. We were encouraged by the efforts made by relevant ASEAN bodies through the ASEAN Joint Task Force on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to improve synergies between the different platforms involved in the management of HADR to provide for more efficient outcomes and avoid duplication of work.
48. We noted that transboundary haze pollution remained a concern in the region. With the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) now having been ratified by all parties, we look forward to greater regional cooperation towards resolving the issue in a concerted manner. We noted the initiatives by the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution (MSC) countries to take the necessary actions in order to operationalise the ASEAN Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System (HMS). In the meantime, we encouraged MSC countries to share information on a Government-to-Government basis on hotspot areas that cause transboundary haze.
49. We noted with great concern that climate change is already having significant impact in the region, causing severe social and economic disruptions and damage throughout the region. We affirmed our commitment to address climate change at the national, regional and global levels. We called for a comprehensive 2015 agreement, based on science and the principles of equity, and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, as well as the promotion of sustainable development for all in line with the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda.
INITIATIVE FOR ASEAN INTEGRATION
50. We recognised that regional integration and narrowing the development gap are priorities in the ASEAN community-building process and in this regard welcomed the drawing up of the IAI Work Plan III (2016-2020) and a post-2015 IAI Agenda. We welcomed closer collaboration between ASEAN and Mekong sub-regional cooperation arrangement to further strengthen IAI cooperation towards achieving equitable economic development in the region. In this aspect, we encouraged AMS to participate in Phase II of the technical assistance from the World Bank, which would focus on the assessment at the national level of development gaps within and between AMS that could be further narrowed. Noting that IAI is cross-cutting in nature, we also called for closer collaboration among the various ASEAN sectoral bodies in ensuring full participation and realisation of regional commitments and initiatives.
51. We welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) in promoting economic growth, narrowing development gaps and contributing to ASEAN integration and community-building. We stressed the importance of addressing the various challenges in implementing MPAC initiatives, such as resource mobilisation as well as coordinating MPAC initiatives which are multi-sectoral in nature.
52. We emphasised the importance of ICT connectivity and tasked the Telecommunications and Information Technology (IT) Ministers to undertake initiatives to improve intra-ASEAN networks and security measures, while establishing platforms to deliver and distribute e-services and ASEAN-based content to our communities in order to ultimately drive e-entrepreneurship and innovation and encourage ASEAN citizens to participate in the Digital Economy, leading towards unlocking the digital potential in ASEAN, creating ASEAN Smart Communities and a safer ASEAN cyberspace.
53. We welcomed the on-going efforts by the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC) to formulate a post-2015 Connectivity agenda, which should be bold, visionary and contain concrete and feasible measures which will contribute to a better-connected ASEAN region.
ASEAN EXTERNAL RELATIONS
54. We expressed satisfaction with the development of ASEAN’s relations with its external partners and look forward to further cooperation for the mutual benefit of ASEAN and its partners. We also expressed our appreciation for their continued support for ASEAN’s Community-building efforts and for initiatives which contribute to the peace and stability of the region.
55. We reiterated ASEAN’s central role in shaping the evolving regional architecture and reaffirmed our commitment to further enhance and strengthen our partnerships through various ASEAN-led mechanisms, including the ASEAN Plus One and Plus Three Mechanisms, the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
56. We looked forward to the conclusion of the Upgrading of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) and the signing of the Protocol to incorporate the Trade in Services and Investment Chapters under the ASEAN Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) Agreement. We also noted the good progress of the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) negotiations.
57. We welcomed the progress made by the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG) in deliberating the ASEAN Membership Application by Timor-Leste and exploring the ASEAN activities that Timor-Leste could participate in. We are committed to provide assistance for Timor-Leste’s capacity building process and looked forward to the outcome of the three independent studies on ASEAN Membership Application by Timor Leste and its implications on the APSC, AEC and ASCC building process, as mandated to the ACCWG Sub-Working Group.
Strengthening of the East Asia Summit
58. We acknowledged the need to continue efforts to create robust mechanisms to address issues related to deepening regional integration and maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region. We recognised that these mechanisms must aim at promoting strategic trust through dialogue and transparent behaviour as well as adherence to rules and norms commonly agreed to. We further acknowledged the need to promote effectiveness, synergies and minimise duplication in ASEAN-led mechanisms. In this regard, we called for the strengthening of existing mechanisms, including the East Asia Summit.
REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES
South China Sea
59. We share the serious concerns expressed by some Leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea, which has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea.
60. In this regard, we instructed our Foreign Ministers to urgently address this matter constructively including under the various ASEAN frameworks such as ASEAN-China relations, as well as the principle of peaceful co-existence.
61. We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the South China Sea. We emphasised the need for all parties to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety: to build, maintain and enhance mutual trust and confidence; exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities; to not to resort to threat or use of force; and for the parties concerned to resolve their differences and disputes through peaceful means, in accordance with international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
62. While noting the progress made in the consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), we urged that consultations be intensified, to ensure the expeditious establishment of an effective COC.
63. We reiterated ASEAN’s support for the legitimate right of the Palestinian people for an independent state of Palestine and a two-state solution where Palestine and Israel live side-by-side in peace. We expressed concern at the seeming renunciation of the two-State solution as well as the expression of concern at Arab Israelis exercising their right of universal suffrage during the recent elections in Israel and called upon Israel and Palestine to constructively engage in peace negotiations. We reiterated our call for all parties to make every effort to remove obstacles related thereto, in particular the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories, in order to reach a final status agreement.
64. We expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in Yemen, resulting in deaths, destruction and large scale displacement of people, compelling us to evacuate hundreds of ASEAN Nationals from the country. We expressed support for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216 on the Situation in the Middle East (Yemen) and called on all parties to exercise restraint, resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue and return to the country’s roadmap for an inclusive democratic transition. We urged all parties to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance as well as the protection and evacuation of civilians.
International Economic Slowdown
65. We acknowledged the importance of deeper, faster and better integration to mitigate the effects of uncertainties in the global economy, through ASEAN becoming more competitive, promote further FDI inflows and ultimately benefit our peoples. We acknowledged that falling oil prices could affect export earnings and government revenue for net oil-exporting economies in ASEAN and the risk posed by currency volatility, including possible capital flow reversals.
66. We acknowledged the continued resilience of ASEAN economies amidst the challenges in the global economy. We note that, notwithstanding net oil exporting economies, the declining oil prices have an overall positive impact on the region’s economic growth. We are however mindful of external factors that could adversely impact our economies. We are confident the continued adoption of appropriate policy mix, the realisation of AEC and together with the continued focus on infrastructure development to improve connectivity will help sustain economic growth, maintain regional financial stability and enhance ASEAN’s competitiveness.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
67. We welcomed the progress made in negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and urged all parties to intensify efforts with the aim of concluding negotiations by end-2015. Given RCEP’s potential to further integrate ASEAN into the global economy and uphold ASEAN centrality, we tasked our Economic Ministers to identify approaches which are pragmatic, credible, and acceptable to all parties, taking into consideration the different levels of development among ASEAN Member States, plus additional flexibility for the least developed ASEAN Member States.
68. We expressed appreciation to Turkey for inviting ASEAN participation at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey in November 2015 as well as related G20 meetings throughout the year. ASEAN’s continued participation in the G20 is an acknowledgement of its role as a constructive and successful regional organisation. We will continue to provide constructive input and highlight ASEAN’s views and perspectives concerning the international financial infrastructure.
69. We welcomed Malaysia’s non-permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council for the term 2015-2016 and expressed support for ASEAN’s future candidatures to the United Nations Security Council. This is in line with our shared vision for ASEAN to coordinate action on various global issues of common interest and concern, leading to ASEAN becoming a global player. – VNS
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