at the Closing Session of the 4th Meeting of the 38th ASEAN Standing Committee
Vientiane, 25 July 2005

Mr. Secretary-General of ASEAN,
The Directors-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to the ASEAN Secretary-General, ASEAN Directors-General and delegates to the 4th Meeting of the 38th ASEAN Standing Committee (ASC).

I am gratified to note that in the past, the ASC has played an important role and contributed to the success of ASEAN. However, since 1997 and in light of the new circumstance, I am of the view that the ASC should further increase its role following the blueprint and the long-term objective set by the ASEAN Leaders for the establishment of an ASEAN Community. The adoption of the ASEAN Vision 2020 followed by the HPA, Bali Concord II, the VAP and a series of Plans of Action demonstrates that ASEAN has continuously developed an expanded starting from some areas to nearly all fields of cooperation. ASEAN has also broadened its external cooperation. Therefore, it requires harmonious coordination and an effective implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP), Plans of Action and external cooperation framework to ensure our success in reaching our strategic goal of establishing an ASEAN Community and cooperation with dialogue partners concern leading to the establishment of an East Asia Community. These are the challenges and daunting task, but a noble one of the ASC in the coming years.

As to the work of the ASC over the past year, I would like to express my sincere congratulations for your outstanding achievements that are reflected in many aspects. Generally speaking, we can see it first from the contribution of the ASEAN National Secretariat to the one of the ASEAN Secretariat, and in particular, from the implementation of cooperation projects, the continued streamlining of the ASEAN institutional framework, the expansion and strengthening of external cooperation, including that with dialogue partners of ASEAN as well as the formulation and endorsement of several important documents, for instance the documents adopted at the 10th ASEAN Summit as well as those to be adopted at the 38th AMM and related Meetings.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend in particular Mr. Ong Keng Yong, the ASEAN Secretary-General, the ASEAN Directors-General and officials for their important contributions to the success of all the activities of the 38th ASC as well as for their cooperation, support and assistance accorded to the Lao PDR during its Chairmanship which has been carried out in a cordial atmosphere of ASEAN spirit as in the same ASEAN family.

In that spirit, I would like to give my support to and express my readiness to work together with Malaysia as the incoming Chair of the 39th ASC. I am confident that under the able leadership and rich diplomatic skills of H.E. Dato’ Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, the ASC will gain greater success in the implementation of its noble task.

Lastly, may I wish you all a very good health and greater success in the discharge of your noble duty.

Thank you.