ASEAN Community in Timor – Leste celebrates the 55th Anniversary of ASEAN

ASEAN Community in Timor – Leste celebrates the 55th Anniversary of ASEAN

(Photo Tatoli/Egas Cristóvão)

 Dili, 15 august 2022 (TATOLI) – The Representatives of Five ASEAN Country members in Timor-Leste, celebrate the 55th anniversary of the creation of the Organization of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the Royal Thai Embassy compound in Dili.

The representatives of the Five countries members are Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.

Ambassador of Thailand to Timor-Leste and Dean of the ASEAN Missions in Dili,Ekapol Poolpipat, said in August 1967 in Thailand, Foreign Ministers from five countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, embarked on an ambitious journey to create an association that would become the premier platform in Southeast Asia and beyond for consultation, consensus, cooperation, enhancing mutual trust and confidence, and respect of international law.

This ambitious of this visionary initiative has changed the course of modern history and transformed Southeast Asia — from a region of insecurity to a region of peace and stability, and from a region of economic and social disadvantages to a region of economic prosperity and social resilience.

“With the subsequent joining of Brunei Darussalam in 1984, and then, the joining of Viet Nam, Laos PDR, Myanmar, and Cambodia, ASEAN has grown from an association of five countries to now a community of ten. Indeed, we look forward to Timor-Leste’s success in becoming the 11th member of ASEAN in the near future” Ekapol Poolpipat,  told reporters in the Royal Thai Embassy, Farol, Dili on monday.

Ekapol Poolpipat added,Today, with a combined population of 662 million people and gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.2 trillion, ASEAN is currently the third largest economy in the Indo Pacific and  ASEAN is on track to become the fourth largest economy in the world.

In addition, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, which is an ASEAN-centred regional free trade agreement, entered into force on 1 January 2022, paving the way for the creation of the world’s largest free trade area.

Through various ASEAN-led mechanisms, ASEAN has played an instrumental role in promoting dialogues and cooperation among parties in and outside the region. This unique ASEAN role will become even more important in the new strategic landscape of Asia.

“We reaffirm our commitment to advance ASEAN Community building, through closer economic integration and better regional connectivity, among other things. We need to work closely with our partners and combine our respective strengths. ASEAN is to retain its relevance by consolidating the region’s unity, reinforcing ASEAN centrality, and strengthening its credibility” he said.

ASEAN commends the unwavering political will of Timor-Leste to become an ASEAN member and its determination in advancing the preparatory work for ASEAN accession. The ASEAN Embassies here, have consistently been supportive of Timor-Leste’s accession journey and capacity-building efforts.

“This year, we welcome the progress of the application process. After the completion of the ASEAN Political-Security Fact-Finding Mission almost two years ago, last month, we observe the successful on-site visits of the two Fact-Finding Missions: one was the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community and the other was the ASEAN Economic Community”

Thereafter, ASEAN looks forward to the comprehensive assessment so that, Timor-Leste’s application for ASEAN Membership will be further developed. ASEAN is also pleased to note that the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh underscored the need to accelerate the process of Timor-Leste’s application for accession to ASEAN. The Meeting reaffirmed its commitment to continue exploring ways to provide capacity-building assistance to Timor-Leste, including through its participation in non-policy-making activities in ASEAN to prepare the country to become a full-fledged member of ASEAN.

“Looking ahead, the ASEAN Embassies stand ready to work with the Timorese authorities and counterparts, ASEAN dialogue partners, and development partners here in Dili as ASEAN State members continue the efforts for the Timor-Leste accession to ASEAN, and global and regional peace, inclusive economic growth, and sustainable development for all.

Achievements accomplished by a cohesive ASEAN amid the pandemic and also welcomed the successful conduct of fact-finding missions by both the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) held in July 2022 as well as the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) held in September 2019. He reaffirmed, “ASEAN is committed to continually exploring ways to provide capacity-building assistance and facilitate Timor-Leste in its preparations for joining ASEAN.” He concluded

At the same place the President of the Republic of Timor – Leste, José Ramos-Horta praised ASEAN for its achievements throughout its 55-year history and its role in promoting regional peace and stability

“I conveyed my appreciation to ASEAN for its support for Timor-Leste’s capacity-building process and looked forward to a positive outcome of the assessment of the readiness of Timor-Leste to accede to ASEAN. I think the role of ASEAN is very crucial in the stabilization of peacebuilding and state building of the new Timor – Leste, by sending the UN peacekeeping force from 1999 -2003 and continuing to Support Timor – Leste, until the end of the UN mission in 2012 in addition to the role of ASEAN also has sent a hundred of Timorese students to Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam Singapore, Malaysia and the State members of ASEAN, and also many public servants, Civil Society and including diplomatic had benefited the capacity building in the state members of ASEAN during this time ” said Horta.

Timor – Leste, has established embassies in 10 ASEAN Member States, and soon Timor Leste, will also participate in the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, thus Timor -Leste, consistently supported ASEAN country candidacy for UN bodies to defend a consensus among Timor – Leste, in the Pacific, ASEAN and globally to prevent the tension and to promote the peace.

“We prepare to join ASEAN, and try to promote regional meditation with dialogue to prevent the tension of conflict escalation. We would joint ASEAN with a fast well of experience but temper with humanity and the cognition, that will mutual organized and must continue to learn to listen more than talk, learn more than lecture be ready whenever to ask to share our rich but more the experience,’’ he concluded.

The Anniversary commemoration was attended by the President of the Republic, JoséRamos-Horta, and the President of the National Parliament, Aniceto Guterres Lopes as the Guest of Honor. Invitees included Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, other key Timorese Ministers, government officials, and the diplomatic corps in Dili.

Journalist : Camilio de Sousa

Editor : Nelia Borges


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