Thailand (FN), Nov. 3 – As chairman of ASEAN in 2019, Thailand hosts the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits during 2-4 November 2019 at the Impact Muang Thong Thani Arena, Exhibition and Convention Centre.

On 2 November 2019, H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, chaired the Plenary of the 35th ASEAN Summit.

High level dignitaries attending the Summits include leaders of ASEAN Member States, president of the Republic of Korea, prime ministers of Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand and Russia as well as premier of the People’s Republic of China, the special envoy of the president of the United States, and the secretary-general of the United Nations, and the managing director of IMF will be Guest of the Chair.

The meeting discussed means to build a stronger ASEAN Community that is people-centred, leaves no one behind, and looks to the future. ASEAN leaders also exchanged views on the future of ASEAN under the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” to enhance sustainability within the region in all dimensions.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the summit, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said to create a prosperous and sustainable region, "we should continue to work to conclude negations on the RCEP (the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) within this year to stimulate economic growth as well as trade and investment,” according to Xinhua News Agency.

“There is the need to promote a seamless ASEAN through the "Connecting the Connectivities" approach, both within the ASEAN region and beyond. This includes physical, people-to-people, financial and digital connectivity,” he said.

ASEAN gives priority to building regional sustainable security and strengthening cooperation in border management and cyber-security. It intends to “connect the connectivities” based on the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025) in order to facilitate trade, investment and people mobility. Moreover, ASEAN recognises the necessity to prepare its citizens for new technological disruptions in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the transformation into an ageing society, according to Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry’s press release dated 1 November 2019.

“On 3 November 2019, General Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the Opening Ceremony of the Summits. It will be followed by the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit, the 16th ASEAN-India Summit, the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit and the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Interface with the East Asia Business Council (EABC).”

“On 4 November 2019, Leaders will attend the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three Summit, 7th ASEAN-US Summit, Special Lunch on Sustainable Development, 14th East Asia Summit, 22nd ASEAN-Japan Summit and 3rd RCEP Summit.”

The 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits are the most significant meeting hosted by Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship within this year, as it is the conclusion of the chairmanship and is expected to issue or adopt several statements, declarations and other documents in areas such as sustainable development, climate change and education. On this occasion, ASEAN will also launch 3 ASEAN Centres namely, ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation (ACAI), ASEAN Training Centre for Social Work and Social Welfare (ATCSW) and ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD).

Furthermore, private sector-oriented activities will be held at the sidelines of the Summits. These are the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2019 on 2-3 November 2019 at the Impact Exhibition Hall and the 2nd Indo-Pacific Business Forum on 4 November 2019 at the Royal Jubilee Ballroom, all conveniently within the complex of the Impact Muang Thong Thani Arena, Exhibition and Convention Centre. These events serve as platforms for Leaders to share their vision on the future direction and for governments and the private sector to find ways to forge partnerships to enhance economic cooperation and business opportunities within the region and beyond.

The Closing Ceremony and the Handing Over of the ASEAN Chairmanship to Viet Nam will take place in the evening of 4 November 2019. However, Thailand will continue to serve its Chairmanship term until the end of the year.

ASEAN comprises of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Launched in 1967, ASEAN currently has a combined population of over 649 million, accounting for about 8.5 percent of the world's total. In 2018, the region recorded a combined GDP of more than 2.9 trillion U.S. dollars, a growth of 5.2 percent, according to ASEAN statistics.