Singapore turns over ASEAN chairmanship to Thailand

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 15) — The chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formally turned over Thursday, with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong handing over the gavel to his Thai counterpart, Prayut Chan-o-cha.

In ceremonies in Singapore, Lee said member countries focused on "community-building, and strengthening our linkages with key partners" during the summit.

Lee noted several deliverables were launched during the events.

"To address security threats and forge a peaceful and rules-based regional order, we established the 'Resilience, Response, Recovery' framework to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation. We adopted the world's first multilateral air guidelines to manage unintentional encounters between military aircraft," he said.

Lee also mentioned the ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce and ASEAN-wide Self Certification scheme to facilitate cross border online transactions, and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network featuring 26 pilot cities along with specific action plans "to create innovative urban solutions that will bring tangible improvements to our peoples' lives."

"I have listed many deliverables and these are just a small part of a much more substantial report card which ASEAN member states have achieved together for this chairmanship," he said.

Advancing Partnership for Sustainability

In his speech, Prayut thanked the outgoing chairmanship, adding that all ten ASEAN members must collaborate closely "on a foundation of ASEAN unity and the principle of the three Ms: mutual trust, mutual respect, and mutual benefit to realize concrete deliverables and sustainability in ASEAN for all dimensions."

He said next year's theme, Advancing Partnership for Sustainability, is centered on such a goal.

Using technological advances to empower ASEAN nations, and by working closely with other partners will benefit all citizens, Prayut said.

"I wish to invite all ASEAN member states, ASEAN citizens in all sectors of society to cooperate closely in developing an ASEAN brand in order to create strategic value added for ASEAN, strengthen our ASEAN identity, and help ASEAN become a people-centered community that leaves no one behind and looks forward to the future, our future with pride," he said.