Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah speaks as he chairs the 16th ASEAN-Japan Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan. Reuters/Ahim Rani
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The 23rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit kicked off here Wednesday, bringing together leaders from 10 ASEAN member states.
Themed "Our People, Our Future Together," the summit will review the progress towards the realization of the ASEAN Community by 2015 and discuss ways to consolidate the achievements in order to meet the 2015 target of having an economically integrated, politically cohesive and socially responsible ASEAN Community, according to (Xinhua) news agency.
Bruneian Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said in his opening remarks that the outlook for the ASEAN region remains promising, while acknowledging the ASEAN members still face challenges in implementing their community roadmap.
The sultan also called for the ASEAN countries to work together in areas such as trade facilitation and logistics to promote business environment in the region.
According to the sultan, ASEAN aims to double the bloc's combined GDP to 4.4 trillion US dollars and reduce the population who live in poverty to 9.3% by 2030.
Adding that they will improve their working procedures through a review of their institutions and external relations.
Formed in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (QNA)