Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Singapore
November 13, 2018

Leaders of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member Countries, including President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, convened at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Singapore for the opening ceremony of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore thanked the ASEAN Leaders for their support to Singapore’s Chairmanship. He conveyed that ASEAN is starting a new chapter that would be effective and relevant to the people and to the ASEAN partners considering the rapidly changing environment.

The Prime Minister said that international order is at a turning point and that the existing free and multilateral system, which has underpinned the ASEAN growth system, has come under stress saying, “some countries resulting to major powers has resorted to the unilateral system and bilateral deals and evenly refuting multilateral approaches and institutions”. Relative to this, he lauded the ASEAN Member Countries for showing its support to each other despite taking their respective different directions, different strategic outlooks, political calculations, and national interests, emphasizing that the regional bloc is able to work together despite the shift against multilateralism.

Furthermore, the Singapore Prime Minister said that with ASEAN coming together as one voice instead of going separate ways, the region has strengthened its standing globally because the ASEAN Member Countries are able to cooperate with major countries and international organizations, as well as meet in the East Asian Summit, thereby increasing the region’s value to investors.

Prime Minister Loong added that because of its vibrant economic groupings in the world, a growing middle class and a young work force, the ASEAN is expected to be the fourth largest economy in the world by 2030.
During the opening ceremony, the Singapore Prime Minister awarded the ASEAN Prize 2018 to Ms. Erlinda Koe, former chairperson of the ASEAN Autism Network. Her works helped improve the lives of people with autism, exemplifying the region’s goal of resilience and inclusiveness, people-oriented, and people-centered ASEAN Community.

After the program, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the rest of the ASEAN Leaders posed for a group photo before proceeding to the working dinner.

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