Transcript of Remarks by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Joint Press Statement with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering, 11 October 2018, in Bali, Indonesia.
Thank you President Jokowi. Ladies and gentlemen. I am happy to be addressing the press with President Jokowi again after the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat this morning, this time for the ASEAN Leader’s Gathering.
First of all, I would like to thank the President for his gracious hospitality and initiative in convening the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering. This meeting is a valuable opportunity for ASEAN to meet with the leaders of the UN, the IMF and the World Bank. We had insightful discussions under the theme, “Achieving Sustainable Development Goals and Overcoming Development Gaps through Regional and Global Collaborative Actions”. We also reaffirmed our strong commitment to multilateralism and international cooperation. ASEAN remains steadfast in upholding the open and rules-based multilateral trading system which has underpinned the region’s economic growth over the past decades. We are redoubling our efforts on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and we hope to achieve a substantial conclusion by the end of this year.
As a regional grouping comprising diverse economies, ASEAN will face a multitude of challenges related to sustainable development, ranging from economic restructuring and accelerating urbanisation to an ageing population. As we pursue economic integration, it is important that ASEAN also aligns our economic objectives with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so that our economic growth will bring tangible benefits to our 630 million citizens of ASEAN countries.
Sustainable development is a priority under Singapore’s ASEAN Chairmanship. To strengthen ASEAN’s capacity building and human resource development, Singapore will be upgrading our three centres for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration which are in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos to become Singapore Cooperation Centres. These new Centres will expand our range of technical assistance beyond classroom-based courses and allow us to better learn from one another. Singapore has also set up a new office, the Infrastructure Asia, to facilitate the implementation of infrastructure projects. The office will help connect and match potential partners across the infrastructure value chain, including professional services firms and multilateral development institutions, to meet the region’s growing infrastructure demand. This will help to push economic growth and narrow the development gap across the region.
Another key ASEAN initiative is the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN). Cities in the network have drafted action plans based on their infrastructure needs and sustainable development goals. We are working with external partners as well as the private sector to come up with innovative solutions to make smart, liveable and sustainable cities in ASEAN a reality.
We Look forward to continued support from international organisations, including the UN, the IMF, and World Bank which have continued to support ASEAN’s Community-building efforts. Sustainable development, as the President has pointed out, is a collective goal. No single model works for all countries but we have much to learn from each other’s experience and there is a great deal we can do together.
So I thank the President for convening this meeting. It was a pleasure to co-chair the Gathering with him, and look forward to welcoming the President to Singapore very soon for the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in November. Thank you.
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