Govt ready to host Asean summit
Bangkok talks on June 22-23 focus on 'partnership for sustainability'
Thailand is getting ready to welcome regional leaders ahead of the Asean Summit next week.
All the leaders of the 10 member countries will attend the 34th Asean Summit on June 22 and 23 in Bangkok, said Suriya Chindawongse, director-general of the Department of Asean Affairs.
Thailand is chairing the regional grouping this year, with a theme of "Advancing Partnership for Sustainability". The focus is on building a people-centred Asean Community "that leaves no one behind and looks to the future", he said.
Working towards a digital, green and seamlessly connected region will be at the centre of talks, as will promoting Asean centrality within the context of the regional architecture, he added.
At the summit, the leaders are expected to produce a vision for sustainability along with an operational plan to resolve the problems of maritime pollution, as well as the drafting of a framework of ideas regarding the Indo-Pacific concept, said Mr Suriya.
The second Asean Summit of this year will be held in November, with leaders of other nations invited to attend related meetings including the East Asia Summit.
In another development, Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said more negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) can be expected this year.
The Asean leaders have agreed to push for the conclusion of the RCEP talks by the end of this year, she said. And even if an agreement cannot be reached, there are positive signs of progress.
"There will be ministerial meetings to define a joint stance for Asean in the negotiations," she said.
"There will be many key meetings in late June in Melbourne, Australia, in late July in Zhengzhou [China], as well as high-level meetings between senior officials in August in Beijing and then in September and November in Thailand, to move forward to the conclusion according to the goal."
The original deadline for concluding the 16-country RCEP — involving all 10 Asean states plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand — was the end of 2015. Talks have been bogged down because of disagreements over market access, especially between China and India.