ASEAN leaders convene to discuss community realization, development beyond 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 21 (PNA/Xinhua) -- Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered here on Saturday to discuss the establishment of the landmark ASEAN Community by Dec. 31 this year and map out a plan for its further development to 2025.

"We are all here in Kuala Lumpur at a historic moment for the 10-nation association. Tomorrow, we will formally declare the establishment of the ASEAN Community on Dec. 31, 2015," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in his opening remarks.

This marks "the culmination of a decades-long effort to integrate, to cohere and to forge ahead together," he said.

Under the theme "Our People, Our Community, Our Vision," the summit, the 27th of its kind, is expected to unveil the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community, signalling the formal establishment of the community by Dec. 31, 2015.

The envisaged ASEAN Community will cover some 600 million people with a combined GDP of 2 trillion U.S. dollars.

The 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together will also be endorsed at the end of the summit and related meetings.

ASEAN has maintained the high ambitions it set in the three community blueprints -- economic, political-security and socio-cultural with "impressive growth," Najib said.

The summit is convened at a time when ASEAN nations are facing economic downturn, currency devaluation, threats of terrorism and human-trafficking.

 © 2015