International Conference “ASEAN Community: Identity and Centrality”

14:00 20/03/2019

On March 19th 2019, the International Conference on the theme of “ASEAN Community: Identity and Centrality” was held by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung Foundation (Germany) in Hanoi. Attending the Conference was more than 130 delegates including officials, former officials, and reputable scholars in Vietnam and other countries, some of them are Former Politburo Member, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem, Former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, Former ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, Ambassadors and Former Ambassadors of Vietnam and other countries, Diplomatic corps representatives in Hanoi, and more than 30 reporters from news agencies an television companies in Vietnam and other countries. Notably, Doctor Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia Former Foreign Minister, was invited to give the welcome speech at the conference as the honorable guest.

Delegates attending the Conference

Delivering the opening remarks, Associate Professor Nguyen Vu Tung, President of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, affirmed that Vietnam has always considered ASEAN one of the top priorities in its foreign policy. The Conference was organized within the framework of research, dialogue, policy consultation activities in preparation for Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship year 2020. On behalf of the Leaders of Foreign Ministry of Vietnam, Assistant Foreign Minister Nguyen Van Thao warmly welcomed the delegates attended the Conference. He asserted that the establishment and development of ASEAN during 50 years is the clear evidence for the strong vitality of a regional cooperative model. The ASEAN’s development based on the prior achievements and the indispensable role of ASEAN to each member states, to the Southeast Asia and to the India-Asia-Pacific during the years have created ASEAN’s crucial identity and centrality. On the other hand, ASEAN’s identity and centrality are now two fundamental factors that could decide the ASEAN’s ability and potential to grow in the near future. Within the context of an ever-changing and unpredictable world, reaffirming ASEAN’s identity and maintaining its centrality are essential missions of the Community that require pro-active contribution from every member nation. It also needs to be implemented comprehensively at the regional level between Governments and at the national level between Ministries, departments, and localities of each member nation. That were the missions listed out for rotating Chairmanship countries of ASEAN, as to how could they initiate effective solutions for ASEAN members to be united under a concrete identity and to be independent with high adaptability in an ever-changing world.

President of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, Associate Professor Ph.D Nguyen Vu Tung

Delivering the welcome speech at the Conference, Doctor Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia Former Foreign Minister, shared his opinion saying that ASEAN is dealing with national-regional and regional-international ties. This is not a new issue that ASEAN has actually been ready to build a pro-active and comprehensive approach to resolve it. However, ASEAN needs not to be complacent and be ready to encounter new challenges set by regional and global context. Mr. Natalegawa emphasized that, ASEAN needs to utilize the existed regional commitment and mechanism as well as to have specific policies to implement its vision, showing its centrality in resolving regional issues. ASEAN could be as well holding a similar fundamental role in a model akin to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) for the Indo-Pacific region and enhancing the regional crisis management mechanism. These two solutions could help ASEAN to have more practical contribution.

Delegates attending the Conference had focused on discussing the ASEAN’s identity and centrality in the context of opportunities and challenges in the current global world and in 1-2 years ahead, listing out what the ASEAN countries need to implement to maintain its identity and centrality in the region, as well as what Vietnam could and need to do to fulfill its ASEAN Chairmanship 2020, attaining goals that the Community set out.

Overview of the conference

The conference was organized with an energetic, trusting and outspoken manner. Most of the delegates agreed with the opinion that ASEA is standing in front of many opportunities, yet the challenges are notable. Within that context, Vietnam was expected to enhance its fundamental role of a leader in the Chairmanship year 2020, contributing substantially to the development of an ASEAN Community.

Translator: Lê Hương Giang

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