International Convention Center, Brunei Darussalam
9 October 2013

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN Member States, including President Benigno S. Aquino III, arrived at the International Convention Center (ICC) to officially begin the 23rd ASEAN Summit chaired by Brunei Darussalam.

In a show of solidarity, the ten Heads of State/Government posed for their traditional group photo before the summit proper commenced.

According to Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN, President Aquino is expected to relay a number of advocacies such as following the rule of law and the peaceful settlement of territorial disputes, advancing the welfare of migrant workers, social protection for vulnerable groups like women and children, environment, disaster management, education and maritime cooperation.

This year’s theme is “Our People, Our Future Together” and discussions will focus on the progress towards the realization of the ASEAN Community by 2015. With two more years before the deadline, the implementation of the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community showed considerable gains across all the three pillars (political-security, economic and socio-cultural), setting the stage for meeting the 2015 targets.

The summit will serve as a venue to discuss ways to consolidate these gains in order to meet the 2015 target of having an economically integrated, politically cohesive and socially responsible ASEAN Community and to ensure ASEAN’s place in the global community of nations by 2015 and beyond.

There are also reports that reducing tensions in the South China Sea is high on the agenda in this year’s gathering.

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