Leaders from Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN plus Three) pledged Tuesday to further integration of East Asia through continued cooperation in fields of politics, economy and society.
In a joint statement issued at their annual summit held in Singapore, the Southeast Asian leaders defined the objectives and roles of the ASEAN+3 cooperation in the emerging regional architecture.
They reaffirmed a long-term goal of building an East Asian community with the ASEAN+3 mechanism as "the main vehicle" and ASEAN as "a driving force."
Having region's durable peace and shared prosperity in vision, the leaders said they will continuously engage all interested countries and organizations during the process of building the East Asian community.
The statement said, ASEAN+3 will expand and strengthen their political and security cooperation, through developing human resources, conducting of regular security dialogue and exchanges and other capacity-building measures.
In the economic and financial fields, ASEAN+3 will push forward cooperation in various sectors from economic liberalization to intellectual property rights protection.
In face of the environment challenge, ASEAN+3 leaders reaffirmed the need to take an effective approach to the interrelated issues of climate change, energy security and the environment.
In the social and cultural area, the leaders said they will increase efforts in eradicating poverty, narrowing development gap and achieving the Millennium Development Goals in East Asia.
The ASEAN plus Three mechanism was established in the late 1990s, when ASEAN countries decided to enhance cooperation with other major economies of Asia.
The framework, initially focusing on economic cooperation, have expanded in recent years to sectors of politics, security, culture and other areas.
Leaders from China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN countries meet annually to discuss cooperation and major international and regional issues.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.