KUALA LUMPUR, Southeast Asian leaders on Sunday underlined their commitment to the region’s stability and prosperity, saying they aim to ensure that ties with the international community remain on an upward trajectory.
The remarks by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha came amid an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, which kicked off a day earlier and ends on Monday.
He highlighted the need to maintain amicable relations with all countries for the collective benefit of ASEAN member states, besides closer cooperation with the bloc’s trade partners at a time where global economic growth has largely lagged.
Long-term stability is needed in the South China Sea, amid Beijing’s growing maritime claims in a strategic waterway also coveted by several ASEAN states, the Thai premier pointed out.
On a deal that has the potential to be the world’s largest trade bloc, he said Southeast Asian countries agree that a conclusion should be reached no later than early next year.
Summit-host Thailand will also be the venue for talks with ASEAN’s main trade partners including the US, Japan, India, among other countries.
Source: Kuwait News Agency