BANGKOK: Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have largely overcome the COVID-19 threat and resumed socio-economic activities, three years since the global COVID-19 pandemic hit the world..
ASEAN chair and Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said based on ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office's projection last October, each of the ASEAN member states would record positive economic growth rate.
"With perseverance and strong efforts, individual member state and ASEAN as a whole have largely overcome this global threat.
"The ASEAN region as whole will achieve the growth rate of 5.3 per cent and 4.9 per cent in 2022 and 2023 respectively, an impressive figure compared to other parts of the world," he said at the opening ceremony of the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, today.
Amid the positive growth outlook, Hun Sen also urged ASEAN member states to stay vigilant as the current socio-economic situation in the region as well as in the whole world remains fragile and divided.
"We are now at the most uncertain juncture; the lives of millions in our region depend on our wisdom and far sight, our right decisions and policies, and our realistic approach to address the strategic challenges we all face," he said.
He added the bloc has concluded the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, Socio-Cultural Community Ministers, Economic Ministers, Defence Ministers and other Ministerial Meetings with satisfactory results while showing solidarity towards multilateralism, maturity in engagement diplomacy, and determination for peace, stability and the sense of humanity for all.
"I trust that the spirit of cooperation and constructive contribution, shown so far, will prevail during our deliberations for the next four days," he said.
The ASEAN leaders and representatives gathered in Phnom Penh to attend the 40th and 41st Asean Summits and Related Summits.
The theme of this year's ASEAN Summits and Related Summits is "ASEAN ACT: Addressing Challenges Together."
To commemorate the 55th year of ASEAN's establishment, the bloc will issue the ASEAN Leaders' Statement on the 55th Anniversary of ASEAN, which is complimented by two others – the ASEAN Leaders' Vision Statement on ASEAN A.C.T: Addressing Challenges Together and the ASEAN Leaders' Statement on ASEAN Connectivity Post-2025 Agenda to be adopted later today.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun, in his capacity as the Special Representative to the prime minister, led the Malaysian delegation to the summit. –BERNAMA