Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) : The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit opened here on Thursday with Myanmar being handed over the chairmanship of the 10-nation grouping.
The handover ceremony took place today but Myanmar will take up its duties only from Jan 1.
Myanmar has become the chairman of ASEAN for the first time.
“Myanmar has been receiving very strong support and assistance from the member states and also from the partner countries... We are convinced that Myanmar will take up the chairmanship effectively and successfully,” said Le Luong Minh, the ASEAN Secretary-General.
On Wednesday, ASEAN leaders met to review the progress and accelerate the building of a united ASEAN community by 2015.
The 23rd ASEAN summit is discussing ways to consolidate achievements already made so as to meet the goal of having an economically integrated, politically cohesive and socially responsible community and to ensure ASEAN's place in the international community by 2015 and beyond.
In his opening speech, Brunei Sultan Hassani Bolkiah called on the leaders to remove obstacles barring community building efforts, strengthen connectivity, and increase cooperation between ASEAN and its partners, aiming to raise the grouping's GDP to US$4.4 trillion and reduce the poverty rate to 9.5% by 2015.