World Media

Southeast Asian Countries Found ASEAN Economic Community


During his five-day, two-nation visit to Malaysia and Singapore, to attend the 13th Asean-India Summit and the 10th East Asia Summit, the prime minister on Saturday announced a $1-billion credit line to expand trade with the Asean and promised electronic visas soon for the nationals of its 10 members.

The 10 leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations signed a declaration during their summit establishing the ASEAN Economic Community, originally envisioned in 2002.

"In practice, we have virtually eliminated tariff barriers between us", said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the summit host.

"We are also working closely together on shared political and security challenges".

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Southeast Asian leaders on Sunday formally created a unified economic community in a diverse region far larger than the European Union or North America, with hopes of competing with China and India.

The countries aim to harmonise economic strategies, recognise each other's professional qualifications, and consult more closely on macroeconomic and financial policies.

The combined GDP of the 10 nations - a motley conglomeration of 630 million people following Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Confucianism and Taoism - was $2.6 trillion in 2014, an 80 percent increase in seven years.

Yesterday, Modi addressed the ASEAN Summit and held discussions with his counterparts from China and Japan.

Abe and a handful of other leaders made similar remarks regarding China's controversial maritime actions, noting that ensuring freedom of navigation in the disputed waterway is important and that all disputes must be solved peacefully through worldwide law, officials with direct knowledge of the summit said. That has prompted concerns in Washington and across the region that Beijing is trying to militarise its claims in the South China Sea.

At the three leaders' summit three weeks ago - the trio's first - they agreed that cooperation among them and the 10-member ASEAN grouping was a prerequisite for more robust growth along in Asia.

Traveling through Southeast Asia over the past week, President Barack Obama has taken a softer tone on human rights and corruption in a region that rights groups say is rife with abuses.

Obama said on Saturday the Mali hotel attacks only stiffened the resolve of the United States and its allies, which would be relentless in fighting those targeting its citizens and would allow militants no safe haven.

He said predominantly Islamic countries such as Malaysia have a duty to expose as lies the "ideology propagated by these extremists that is the cause of this sadistic violence".

He also cautioned that a military solution alone will not be enough to defeat terrorism. Prime Minister Li Keqiang has yet to comment on the issue.


"We will continue to root out terrorist networks", Obama told a meeting of business executives.