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Turning Cultural Differences into Shared Assets, Asean Can Prosper

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Prime Minister ThonglounSisoulith has encouraged the 10 ASEAN member countries to turn diversity into the spirit of one ASEAN Community and cultural differences into shared assets for a caring and sharing community.

The PM made the comment as he was delivering his opening remarks at the 16th Meeting of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council yesterday in Vientiane.

He encouraged the ministers to work together in Turning diversity into the spirit of one ASEAN Community and cultural differences into our shared assets in accordance with our ongoing efforts towards a caring and sharing community for our peoples.

Hundreds of participants including ASCC ministers, Deputy Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat, ambassadors of ASEAN member countries to Laos, delegates and officials attended the opening ceremony at the National Culture Hall.

PM Thongloun said the ASEAN’s diversity has not been an impediment for ASEAN member states to come together and cooperate with one another.

This has enabled ASEAN to become a region of peace, stability, sustained economic growth and enhanced exchange as well as understanding among the peoples of our countries, which has created favourable conditions towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015, he said.

The PM said he was pleased to note that good progress has been made in the implementation of the ASEAN Socio-Culture Community Blueprint, particularly as almost all relevant sectoral bodies under the ASCC have completed and adopted their respective work plans 2016-2020, which are in accordance with the ASCC Blueprint 2025.

The success of the 15th meeting of the ASCC community held in June 2016 in Luang Prabang province and the convening of this 16th meeting of the ASCC Council reflect the commitment of the Ministers of the ASCC Council in working together to consider important documents for submission to the ASEAN leaders for adoption and signing at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits scheduled to be held from September 6-8.

These documents meet the needs and the real situations of ASEAN as well as the eight priorities of the ASEAN Chairmanship 2016, all of which would provide great contribution to the implementation and realisation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025.

PM Thongloun noted that valuable historic cultural heritage in the region has been threatened by various challenges such as terrorism and natural disasters including floods and earthquakes that caused enormous damage to the heritage which cannot be completely assessed or quantified.

In his welcoming remarks, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Professor Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, who chaired yesterday’s meeting said 2016, during which Laos chairs ASEAN, is a meaningful year for the regional bloc as it starts implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, following the establishment of the ASEAN Community.

He stated that the ASCC, one of the three pillars of ASEAN, has seen key achievements and great efforts made to support the implementation of the ASCC Blueprints over the past years and shall move forward more actively in supporting the realisation of the new ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

The minister noted that ASEAN is a region that is uniquely characterised by diverse cultures, languages and religions. Despite these diversities, the people of ASEAN member states enjoy living together in harmony and solidarity, in a caring and sharing society, together preserving and promoting cultural uniqueness and the traditions of individual ASEAN member states, he said. This has, in essence, formed the unique ASEAN identity normally described as Unity in Diversity, the minister said.

Source: Vientiane Times