Em­bassies mark ASEAN’s 50th an­niver­sary

Guests in­clude Kuwait’s Deputy FM Al-Jar­al­lah

Arab Times - - LOCAL - By Michelle Fe San­ti­ago Arab Times Staff

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.

Photos by Mah­moud Jadeed

Left: Kuwait’s Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Al-Jar­al­lah joins the ASEAN Am­bas­sadors in cut­ting the cake, and (right), some of the guests.

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