Your Royal Highnesses,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Fifth ASEAN Summit marks another milestone in our regional cooperation. ASEAN has agreed to set a new direction so that it will continue to be a pivotal force for the maintenance and enhancement of regional peace and security. We have set concrete guidelines to accelerate and consolidate ASEAN cooperation in all fields. Our common objectives are clear: all the ASEAN countries have reaffirmed their determination to foster peace and prosperity for the peoples of Southeast Asia. The Bangkok Summit Declaration signed this afternoon is a comprehensive document which sets the direction and pace for ASEAN cooperation. As such, it will help ASEAN advance in a position of strength into the next century.
I am also extremely pleased to note that the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty has been signed at this Summit. After extensive discussions, the Heads of Government of the states signatory to the Treaty on SEANWFZ agreed that the Protocol to the Treaty would be further reviewed. I am of the view that in a world where the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains a threat, this Treaty will guard against the scourge of nuclear weapons in the region and contribute towards the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime at the global level.
Equally important for our peace and security is building a sense of togetherness among the states of the region. The Meeting between the ASEAN Heads of Government and the Heads of Government of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar has brought us closer to reaching the vision articulated by the founding fathers of ASEAN of a community of One Southeast Asia. I warmly welcome the goodwill and seriousness the three countries have demonstrated towards ASEAN. In this connection, I wish to reiterate Thailand’s readiness to strengthen the process of consultation and cooperative dialogue between ASEAN and the three neighbouring countries, through both bilateral and multilateral efforts.
In addition, I am satisfied with the substantive achievement the ASEAN Heads of Government have made to enhance our economic cooperation in order to strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of ASEAN’s economies.
The signing of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Services is indeed a commendable initiative which should enhance ASEAN competitiveness in regional and international trade and investment. This long term undertaking will be vital to the dynamism and sustained growth of ASEAN economics.
After 28 years, ASEAN has expanded and matured. ASEAN has moved forward cautiously but sensibly in response to new opportunities and challenges. As part of these efforts, the leaders of ASEAN are pleased to express their support for the World Food Summit, to be held in Rome in late 1996.
Thailand welcomes the interest of ASEAN countries to cooperate in the development of economic infrastructure in the Mekong Basin Sub-region. Various projects have been considered by Thailand in cooperation with the other five members of the Mekong Basin group, namely China, Cambodia, Laos, Mynamar and Vietnam, for some years now at the ministerial level. The discussion have already lead to the completion of a feasibility study with the cooperation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Now the time has come for implementation, Thailand therefore welcomes ASEAN’s participation in this endeavour.
Thailand also supports ASEAN’s clear emphasis on social and human development, scientific and technological cooperation, and ASEAN initiatives in the area of culture and information, and the development and expansion of transportation and telecommunication networks. ASEAN cooperation in these fields is a prerequisite for closer people-to-people contact and greater participation of our citizens in ASEAN affairs.
On behalf of the Government and the people of Thailand, I wish to take this opportunity to express deep appreciation to our friends and colleagues, the ASEAN Heads of Government, for their full cooperation and insightful contributions, and for helping to make this Summit a great success. In particular, I should like to thank Singapore for her able stewardship of ASEAN during the past three years. I wish also to assure Vietnam of our support and cooperation as she prepares to host the next ASEAN summit.
Last but not least, I wish to thank the Ministers, senior officials, the Secretary-General of ASEAN and their able staff, including the interpreters and technical personnel, for their tireless dedication, expertise and excellent work for the cause of ASEAN development and solidarity. I salute and thank you all.
I now declare the Fifth ASEAN Summit closed.