KUALA LUMPUR – ASEAN must ensure the momentum of cooperation with its partners in East Asia is maintained through various initiatives, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today.
He said cooperation with the three partners, namely China, Japan and South Korea, was a driving force towards greater regional integration.
“It serves as the main vehicle towards a long-term goal of building the East Asia Community.
“I am confident the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation still has much more to contribute towards building peace and bringing prosperity to the region,” he said in his opening remarks at the 18th ASEAN Plus Three Summit here Saturday.
Also present were Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and South Korea’s President, Park Geun-Hye.
Najib said 10 years ago, the East Asia vision group had presented its report on exploring ways to expand and intensify cooperation to facilitate further development of the East Asia region.
“We have appointed a second group to review the Asia Plus Three cooperation and provide future direction.
“We must ensure the momentum of cooperation is maintained as this will contribute positively to the livelihood of the people in ASEAN and the East Asia region,” he said.
Najib said this year marked a milestone for ASEAN with the establishment of the ASEAN Community by year-end.
“Complementing the ASEAN Community’s building efforts are the support, active collaboration and contribution by our dialogue partners, China, Korea and Japan,” he added.
The 18th ASEAN Plus Three Summit was held alongside the 27th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits which ends tomorrow.
The ASEAN Plus Three is a forum that functions as coordinator of cooperation between ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea to consult on an increasing range of issues. – BERNAMA