The 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting opened here Tuesday, drawing foreign ministers and representatives from 10 Southeast Asian countries to focus on the establishment of the ASEAN Community by the end of this year.The ten-nation bloc is in its final spurt to realize the goal of establishing a single community by the end of 2015, which involves a plan to create a common economic, political-security and socio-cultural region.
"This will be a huge step towards making the ASEAN motto 'One Vision, One Identity, One Community' a reality," said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the opening ceremony.
The ASEAN Community's Post-2015 Vision, the bloc's roadmap for the next ten years, is also expected to be adopted this year.
By establishing the ASEAN Community, the region is hoping to enhance its role as a global player and take a more active role in the international community, according to Najib.
He expressed belief that an increasingly integrated ASEAN is on course to be the world's fourth largest economy in 2050, and it is time for ASEAN to fulfill its potential.
"The unity between our nations has never been stronger," said Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman at the opening ceremony, who also showed great optimism.
A series of related meetings will be held following the foreign ministers' meeting, in which ASEAN's dialogue partners, including China and the United States will take part and exchange views on regional issues with the bloc
ASEAN a brief knowledge.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a political and economic organisation of ten Southeast Asian countries. It was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.ASEAN covers a land area of 4.4 million square kilometres, 3% of the total land area of the Earth. ASEAN territorial waters cover an area about three times larger than its land counterpart. The member countries have a combined population of approximately 625 million people, 8.8% of the world's population. In 2015, the organisation's combined nominal GDP had grown to more than US$2.6 trillion. If ASEAN were a single entity, it would rank as the seventh largest economy in the world, behind the US, China, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.