Excellency Prime Minister of the SR of Vietnam,
Your Majesty, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. On behalf of the three new Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) members, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Union of Myanmar and the Kingdom of Cambodia, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all ASEM members for their unanimous decision to welcome our three countries into the great ASEM Family. We are very touched and overwhelmed by your expression of friendship and cooperation.
2. We are convinced that the current expansion will add not only new dimension, but also open up further a new horizon for long-term cooperation and closer partnership between our two great continents, Asia and Europe. I believe that the new members can definitely add value to ASEM in order to help bridge the geographical distance between Asia and Europe and respond to a trend of increased regional integration and inter-regional cooperation happening in the world.
3. Our respective governments consider this ASEM membership as a source of energy for promoting stronger peace, stability, friendship, cooperation and solidarity between Asia and Europe. I am sure that Your Majesty and Excellencies share with me that this expansion will turn out to be the great success for all of us, for our people and for the two continents. This is the success for those who love peace, stability, friendship, cooperation and prosperity for mankind.
4. The governments of the three new members highly value their memberships of ASEM. We are convinced that we will greatly benefit from the new partnership between Asia and Europe and are fully committed to the overarching principles of this partnership: ensuring equality, mutual respect and benefit; enhancing understanding; fostering political dialogue, reinforcing economic cooperation and promoting cooperation in other areas.
5. Indeed, ASEM has a clear vision for the future. We, the new members, highly value “Asia Europe Cooperation Framework 2000” which laid out a medium to long-term vision to help guide the ASEM process in the 21st century. In this regard, I would like to draw the following four points of ASEM’s value for Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar:
First, ASEM creates a regional environment of peace and stability, allowing our two regions to prosper.
Second, though ASEM is in nature an open and informal dialogue forum, the principles of equality, mutual respect and benefit have made ASEM an instrumental avenue for enhancing understanding and raising awareness through a process of dialogue and cooperation. The consensus-building principle in making decisions within ASEM provides a strong foundation for the community spirit and cooperative culture between Asia and Europe.
Third, ASEM is not only a region for cooperation, but it also the arena for diplomacy and a major international gateway.
Fourth, Through ASEM, Europe and Asia will open a new chapter of history in promoting integration between the two continents. In this sense, the true partnership between Asia and Europe will help strengthen economic, tourism and trade relations and promote investments.
6. Through these endeavors Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar hope to make concrete contribution to the common peace, stability, progress and prosperity within ASEM. We also recognize that there are challenges facing us, including the differences of the political systems, social, cultural, religious and psychological settings, especially the levels of development among its members. However, we believe in this vision and we are optimistic that together we will be able to make this ambitious vision crystallized and turn the above differences into the strength for promoting cooperation between Asia and Europe.
7. On this keynote, may I wish you, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, success in our common endeavor and quest for the betterment of the world we live in, especially for stronger relationship between Asia and Europe.