PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Closing Ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit

PM Lee Hsien Loong delivered these remarks at the Closing Ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit on 14 November 2017 in Manila, The Philippines.


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President Duterte, fellow ASEAN leaders, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

May I congratulate President Rodrigo Duterte on the Philippines’ successful Chairmanship of ASEAN. Your chairmanship has coincided with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN.

Together with our partners, we celebrated the maturing of ASEAN into a Community. A Community focused on regional peace, economic integration, and constructive engagement with our partners and with key players in the international community.

ASEAN has built a stable, open and inclusive regional architecture, one that has brought about security, growth and development for our peoples.

I would like to thank the Philippines and yourself for moving ASEAN towards deeper integration, with the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”. I would also like to thank the Philippines also for its Chairmanship achievements under each of the three ASEAN pillars, including: The finalisation of a framework for the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea; The conclusion of a free trade agreement between ASEAN and Hong Kong; and the adoption of an ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Le Luong Minh, and his staff at the Secretariat, for their dedication in supporting the many ASEAN meetings and the heavy ASEAN agenda.

I welcome the incoming Secretary-General H.E. Lim Jock Hoi. Singapore looks forward to working closely with you and with the Secretariat to strengthen ASEAN’s Community-building efforts.

As the incoming Chair of ASEAN, Singapore hopes to build upon the good work done by past Chairs and continue our integration journey to foster a close-knit Community that our citizens can benefit from.

ASEAN has built a stable, open and inclusive regional architecture, one that has brought about security, growth and development for our peoples.

PM Lee

We live in a rapidly changing world. To keep ASEAN a central and dynamic driving force that can deal with the challenges and opportunities, Singapore’s Chairmanship focuses on the themes of ‘resilience’ and ‘innovation’. In order to promote and uphold a rules-based regional order so that we can better deal with emerging security challenges such cyber security, transnational crime and terrorism. With innovation we can press on with regional economic integration and enhance regional connectivity so that ASEAN can remain competitive and prosperous and we can find new ways to manage and harness digital technologies, and equip our citizens with skills and capabilities. And keep ASEAN a vibrant and dynamic place for our peoples to live, work and play.

We will also continue to build relations with our external partners. In the coming year, ASEAN will hold special summits in Australia and India. It will also celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan relations; and the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN Regional Forum. As country coordinator for ASEAN-China dialogue relations, Singapore will continue to promote closer ASEAN-China cooperation, including initiatives to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership.

Building on the work of past Chairs, Singapore will continue to enhance cooperation at ASEAN-led fora including the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the East Asia Summit.

Singapore is honoured to accept the gavel and the Chairmanship of ASEAN from our excellent host, the Philippines.

I look forward to working with all our ASEAN partners, and to welcome all ASEAN Member States to Singapore in 2018.

Thank you very much and Mabuhay!

Foreign affairs