Your Majesty,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government and the people of Thailand, it is my great honour and pleasure to extend to Your Majesty, Your Excellencies and all distinguished delegates our most cordial greetings and warmest welcome.

I also have the honour of informing Your Majesty and Your Excellencies that I have just received congratulatory messages on the occasion of this Fifth ASEAN Summit from H.E. Mr. Li Peng, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Mr. Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation, and the Central People’s Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, all of whom expressed their firm desire to extend and broaden further their relations with our Association. I believe this is yet another indication of the recognition ASEAN has received from the international community for which we, as an Association, should be proud.

For Thailand, hosting this Fifth ASEAN Summit is also a double pleasure and privilege. Not only is an ASEAN Summit being convened for the first time in Bangkok, it is also taking place at a time when the Thai people are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Accession to the Throne of His Majesty the King.

This 1995 Summit is noteworthy for other reasons as well. This is the first time that Vietnam is attending as a full-fledged member of ASEAN, after having acquired membership this past July. We will also see a meeting of the Heads of Government of all Southeast Asian nations, an unprecedented sign of the growing sense of common identity and shared destiny taking root within our region. Thailand welcomes these auspicious developments and pledges to do her utmost to ensure that these trends continue well into the future.

Although much work remains ahead of us, we have on our side a strong collective desire to work together for the benefit of our countries, our peoples and our region. As host, Thailand will endeavour to do her utmost to help cultivate the .spirit of fellowship and cooperation that is ASEAN’s traditional hallmark.

Thank you.