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Viet Nam is happy and proud that it has joined hands with the other ASEAN Member States in laying down firm foundations for the realisation of an ASEAN Community by 2015, says Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

In his keynote address at the Opening Ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Related Meetings, the Prime Minister highlighted that the AMM currently taking place in Ha Noi coincides with the celebration of the 15th anniversary of Viet Nam’s accession to ASEAN. “Throughout our journey with ASEAN, Viet Nam has rapidly integrated into and positively contributed to the development of the Association,” he said today.

Highlighting the contribution of Viet Nam to ASEAN since its accession 15 years ago, the Prime Minister said that it is Viet Nam’s consistent policy to participate in ASEAN cooperation in a “proactive, positive and responsible” manner, thus contributing to building a strong and closely integrated ASEAN, serving as the core of an evolving regional architecture.

To mark the event, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Viet Nam News Agency co-organised a photo exhibition themed “Viet Nam – ASEAN, Imprints of 15 Years”. The Opening Ceremony held at the National Convention Centre – the venue of the AMM – was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Viet Nam, H.E. Pham Gia Khiem, and the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

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Writing earlier for a congratulatory message on the 15th anniversary of Viet Nam’s accession to ASEAN, Dr Surin had said that it is very timely that Viet Nam celebrates its 15th anniversary with ASEAN while it is also holding the Association’s Chairmanship. With “Towards the ASEAN Community: From Vision to Action” as its theme, Viet Nam has made it clear that ASEAN is one of the main focuses of Viet Nam’s foreign policy. Elevating ASEAN’s profile and raising the Association’s voice and prestige in the international arena is high on Viet Nam’s agenda, wrote Dr Surin.

According to the Secretary-General, Viet Nam, true to its Chairmanship theme, has demonstrated the region’s ongoing efforts in integration. “Viet Nam is hand in hand with its nine other fellow Member States making ASEAN more and more recognised internationally as an effective regional body with practical accomplishments and resilience,” he noted.

“The peoples of ASEAN certainly thank Viet Nam and its strong leadership for all the contributions it had made for the past 15 years. We hope that Viet Nam will continue to play its role in making the region a better home for its 592 million people in the years to come,” said Dr Surin.