ASEAN celebrates 50-year journey as a people’s community
JAKARTA, 11 August 2017
The ASEAN Secretariat celebrated ASEAN’s golden jubilee in Jakarta with a commemorative ceremony in the morning and colourful performances in the afternoon.
President Joko Widodo of Indonesia attended the ceremony together with ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, and about 400 other invitees. Former Secretaries-General of ASEAN Tan Sri Dato Ajit Singh and Ambassador Ong Keng Yong were among the attendees.
Secretary-General Minh highlighted the 50-year journey of ASEAN, its challenges and way forward. He said, “From a fledgling association, overcoming the challenges in the course of its evolution through a decades-long process of Community building, ASEAN has persevered and prospered over the past fifty years to become an indispensable player and major contributor to peace, security and prosperity in Southeast Asia and beyond.”
He added that “as ASEAN enters a new phase of its journey, it needs the continued support of its Member States, its peoples, Dialogue Partners and other stakeholders. ASEAN needs to stay the course and stand united to weather the current tide of complicated developments in regional and global situations…”
RI President Joko Widodo recognised that ASEAN has established a peaceful ecosystem, stability, and prosperity. ASEAN, however, continues to face challenges. He reminded that ASEAN should remain relevant for the peoples, not only benefitting large corporations but also small and medium enterprises, farmers, fishermen, and informal sectors. He also underlined the need to confront new, non-traditional security challenges that include terrorism and cross-border crimes. The President concluded that, “together with ASEAN, Indonesia progresses. Together with Indonesia, ASEAN is strong.”
At the ceremony, President Joko Widodo also handed over land ownership certificate of the previous Jakarta Mayor’s Office to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia. The site is adjacent to the current ASEAN Secretariat building and designated for the Secretariat’s expansion.
The afternoon programme showcased the artistry of the ASEAN Community through cultural and musical performances by various artists from the ASEAN Member States. Guests also enjoyed exhibitions tracing ASEAN’s journey as a community and were entertained by ASEAN culinary provided by the ASEAN Women’s Circle, signature dishes of ASEAN Dialogue Partners, and other famed local dishes contributed by corporate entities.
ASEAN was founded in Bangkok, Thailand, on 8 August 1967 when the five founding fathers signed the ASEAN Declaration. The five original members are Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, ASEAN enlarged its membership with the admission of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam.