Embassies mark ASEAN’s 50th anniversary
Guests include Kuwait’s Deputy FM Al-Jarallah
KUWAIT CITY, Sept 28: The Embassies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries marked on Wednesday the ASEAN 50th founding anniversary with a diplomatic reception and cultural showcase at the Jumeirah Mesillah Beach Hotel & Spa.
ASEAN Committee in Kuwait (ACK) Chairman Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Renato Pedro Villa welcomed all the guests present during the auspicious occasion that included guest of honour Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Sulaiman AlJarallah, members of the diplomatic corps, ASEAN nationals, local media and other distinguished guests.
“We, the ASEAN ambassadors in Kuwait convey our heartfelt greetings of peace to all officials of the government of Kuwait led by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah whom we commend for his wise and humane leadership, to the dean and members of the diplomatic corps, and to the private sector, including business and the media, which contribute their fair share in the development of Kuwait society,” stated Villa.
Joining Villa on stage were the other ASEAN heads of mission namely Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam Pengiran Mustapa Aliuddin; Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia Tan Bunpa; Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia Tatang Budie Razak; Ambassador of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic Phouangkeo Langsy; Ambassador of Malaysia Dato Rozian Abdl Gani; Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Aye Khaing; Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand Dusit Manapan; and Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Hong Thao.
“This year, ASEAN is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. The regional grouping has to overcome many challenges but it has also earned many achievements in such a short period through an approach to solving issues that respects the cultural norms of the region and each member country, an approach marked by consultation, consensus, peaceful co-existence, sovereign equality and non-interference in domestic affairs or the so-called ASEAN way,” stated Villa.
Villa also outlined the three pillars of ASEAN namely first, the ASEAN political and security community pillar; second, the ASEAN economic community; and the third, the ASEAN social and cultural community.
He cited that the ASEAN covers an expansive area of the earth’s surface. It has a land area of 4.3 million square kilometers, approximately the size of the European Union. If ASEAN is a country, it would be the 7th largest in terms of land area. The combined population of ASEAN member states is approximately 625 million, accounting for 8.8% of the world’s population, around half the population of China and India but larger than the population of the EU and the US.
Villa also lauded the excellent relations of ASEAN member countries with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“We, the ASEAN Ambassadors in Kuwait, also note that urgent issues of mutual interest have led the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and ASEAN to formalize their cooperation and relationship. These issues include impressive growth in their bilateral trade (total trade in a span of five years reached US$160.1 billion), growing opportunities for investments, rise in petroleum consumption by ASEAN as its collective economy expands, and the growing concern over food shortages and environmental degradation,” he cited.
He added that the ASEAN 2017 theme “partnering for change, engaging the world” is an occasion for ASEAN to reflect on its success and achievements during the last 50 years and to prepare itself for new challenges ahead both in the region and the world at large.
“We have come to realize that we can achieve more and be more influential if we work as a group rather than act individually in many endeavors. The collective capacities and synergies of ASEAN seek to establish the group as a model of regionalism and as a key player in the international arena. We shall continue to actively engage and forge partnerships with all countries and other regional groups that will extend the hand of friendship to us, as we have done so in the past 50 years,” stated Villa.
Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Al-Jarallah on his part called on for closer economic cooperation between the GCC and the ASEAN member countries.
“The State of Kuwait seizes this opportunity to call for deeper cooperation and stronger bonds between ASEAN and the Gulf Cooperation Council nations,” stated Al Jarallah. He commended the deeply-rooted relations between the ASEAN and GCC states.
The brief welcome ceremony was followed by the tour of the various stalls of the ASEAN member countries showcasing their wide array of products, tourism brochures and cuisine.
The event hosted by Ricky Laxa was capped by a dinner buffet of gastronomic treat with all the delectable ASEAN cuisine followed by the cultural presentation that included songs and dances as well as presentation of national costumes.
For the finale, gorgeous and svelte models wearing the contemporary Filipiniana inspired haute couture collection of Kuwait based World Class Filipino Fashion designer Resty Lagare sashayed on the catwalk in their MARvelous look by Marlon Malinao and Fashion Fair and hair by Anita of Anita Salon.
Members of the diplomatic corps.
ACK Chairman Philippine Ambassador Villa (extreme right) with fellow ASEAN Ambassadors.
Left: Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Al-Jarallah joins the ASEAN Ambassadors in cutting the cake, and (right), some of the guests.