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ASEAN leaders reaffirm commitment to common market by 2015

By Fon Mathuros (People's Daily Online)

09:36, June 01, 2012

Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand (People's Daily Online/ Fon Mathuros)

Bangkok, Thailand, 31 May 2012 – Leaders of four ASEAN countries reaffirmed the 10-member grouping’s commitment to form the ASEAN Economic Community as scheduled in 2015. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok today, they also raised hopes that the common market will eventually include other countries in East Asia and beyond.

“Physical connectiveness is almost complete in our region,” said Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, citing infrastructure projects such as the Singapore-Kunming railway link that will connect Thailand with northern China, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore.

But non-physical infrastructures must also be addressed, she stressed, such as laws and regulations that will ensure free cross-border movements of people and goods while at the same time strengthening security and preventing illegal activities such as drug smuggling.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, said the future of ASEAN is not just about economic targets but also achievement of peace and stability across the region. The new architecture is not limited to the grouping’s 10 member states. “The regional economy must be seen from two perspectives, ASEAN and the East Asia Summit” – the forum that brings together ASEAN and eight other countries, including China, Japan, India, Korea, Russia and the United States.

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