ASEAN Focuses on Economic Recovery

The ASEAN leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation for peace and stability in the region, with the aim of facilitating economic recovery and development during the third ASEAN informal Summit in Manila, the Philippines, on November 28.

The participants expressed their happiness at ASEAN member countries' economic recovery, with an average growth rate of 2-3% in 1999 as compared with a 7% contraction in 1998. The figure is expected to reach 4-5% in 2000.

The ASEAN leaders affirmed that they would strengthen solidarity and cooperation among member countries, strive to successfully implement the Hanoi Plan of Action and ASEAN Vision 2020, as well as speed up building the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), development programmes and information technology application in ASEAN countries.

Also at the Summit, Philippine president J. Estrada, in his opening speech, laid stress on strengthening dialogue with the three ASEAN partners - China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in all fields, further saying that ASEAN member countries and other countries in the region needed to make further efforts to promote stability and peace in the East Sea.