Transcript of the speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Closing Ceremony of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits on 15 November 2018.
Your Majesty, Excellencies, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Closing Ceremony of the 33rd ASEAN Summit.
We have had a busy, but productive week of meetings. We have been focused on ASEAN Community-building and strengthening our linkages with key partners. When Singapore took on the ASEAN Chairmanship, we chose the themes of “Resilience” and “Innovation”. They reflect our understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead and more importantly, the ASEAN spirit of staying united and looking forward.
I am happy that we have launched a number of concrete deliverables that will better prepare ASEAN for the future. I thank fellow ASEAN members and our external partners for your strong support in making our shared vision of a “resilient and innovative ASEAN” possible.
To address security threats and forge a peaceful and rules-based regional order, we established the “Resilience, Response, Recovery” framework to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation. We adopted the world’s first multilateral air guidelines to manage unintentional encounters between military aircraft.
ASEAN has also redoubled our economic integration efforts, and demonstrated clearly our commitment to uphold a free, open and rules-based multilateral order. Within ASEAN, we signed the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce and introduced the ASEAN-wide Self Certification scheme to facilitate cross-border online transactions. I am pleased that the RCEP negotiations had made substantial progress. We are now in the final stages of negotiations. It is important to take full advantage of the positive momentum generated this year to conclude the RCEP negotiations in 2019.
We are also bringing our cities and peoples closer together.
This year, we launched the ASEAN Smart Cities Network. We have developed action plans for the 26 pilot cities to create innovative urban solutions that will bring tangible improvements to our peoples’ lives. I am happy that our external partners are equally committed to this cause and have worked with our cities on several mutually beneficial projects.
We also launched the ASEAN Youth Fellowship and renewed the Singapore-ASEAN Youth Fund. Events such as eSports and music festivals help promote camaraderie among our youths. These are worthy investments because our youths hold the key to ASEAN’s future.
I have listed many deliverables, and these are just a small part of a much more substantial report card which ASEAN member states have achieved together for this Chairmanship. You have a copy of it on your chairs. It is an easy-to-read infographic that compiled the key initiatives we have launched this year.
As I hand over the Chairmanship, I would like to thank everyone for your support and hard work. Because of your collective commitment and efforts, we have taken considerable strides towards a more united, resilient and innovative ASEAN.
This is just the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for ASEAN. We are not, and never will be done building and strengthening the ASEAN Community. We must continue to uphold the ASEAN-centric frameworks, and engage our partners to keep our region open and inclusive. We must stay on the course of economic integration and pool our talents and resources to improve our peoples’ lives. And despite our individual national interests, we must continue to think regionally and invest political capital in the ASEAN project.
Singapore has full confidence that Thailand, as the incoming ASEAN Chair, will continue to take ASEAN forward. We look forward to continue working with the rest of the ASEAN family to fulfil our common goal of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”. We wish our Thai friends the very best!
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