BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to upholding regionalism and multilateralism on the occasion of the 38th ASEAN Summit.
According to the "ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Upholding Multilateralism," the 10 member countries believed that regionalism and multilateralism are important principles and frameworks of cooperation, and that their strength and value lie in their rules-based nature, inclusivity, transparency and openness, based on mutual benefit and respect.
The leaders further recognized "the interconnectedness and vulnerabilities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reaffirmed the critical importance of staying united in our shared community and the urgent need to have a coherent, people-centered, multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder and whole-of-ASEAN community approach in ensuring ASEAN's timely and effective response to any global and regional threats and crises."
They reiterated the need for ASEAN to remain united, cohesive, and resilient in promoting its purposes and principles as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter and the commitment to support multilateralism founded on the principles stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations and on the basis of international law, which is the indispensable foundation of a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.
They also emphasized a committed multilateral approach in responding to emerging opportunities and challenges and actively shaping a rules-based regional architecture that is capable of tackling pressing regional and global issues.
The leaders also stressed ASEAN's centrality and unity in its constructive engagement with external partners through ASEAN-led mechanisms.
The ASEAN leaders also issued a declaration on blue economy after Tuesday's summit, noting that the ocean and seas are key drivers of economic growth and innovation, while taking into account the need to ensure ocean sustainability and rules-based ocean governance.
The leaders welcomed ASEAN's external partners to support ASEAN's development of blue economy, with ASEAN as the driving force.
ASEAN on Tuesday kicked off its 38th and 39th summits under the chairmanship of Brunei via video conferencing, with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting economic recovery high on the agenda.
Scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday, the 38th and 39th summits and related summits will also be joined by ASEAN's dialogue partners, including China, Japan, South Korea, India, the United States, Australia and Russia, among others.
Established in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Brunei is the ASEAN chair for 2021.