Singapore all set for ASEAN Chair in 2018
PUBLISHED ON 16 Nov 2017
Resilience and Innovation will be the theme for ASEAN when Singapore assumes the chair of the regional grouping in 2018.

Speaking at the close of the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore will seek to ensure the group promotes and upholds a rules-based regional order.

“These are issues that confront all of us and if we can deal with them, we can make ASEAN a more effective and more valuable organisation.”

He pointed out that this will also help to deal with emerging security challenges in the neighbourhood, such as cyber security, transnational crime and terrorism. PM Lee also said that Singapore will also steer the group to press on with regional economic integration and to enhance connectivity so as to keep the region competitive and prosperous.

With a combined population of more than 630 million, and a total GDFP of US$2.5 trillion (S$3.4 trillion), the economic possibilities of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) are enormous. More than 60% of ASEAN’s population is under 40 years old, and combined with the rapid growth of urban centres, ASEAN’s economy is growing at an average of between 5% and 8%.

Singapore will also focus on innovative ways to manage and harness digital technologies, and equip citizens with skills and capabilities. The goal, said PM Lee, is for Asean to remain a central and dynamic driving force in the region that can deal with challenges and opportunities.

Among its initiatives to help Singapore grow its economy, the government has stepped up training assistance through the SkillsFuture programmes. The Committee for Future Economy, which was announced in early 2017, has also encouraged and assisted businesses to tap into the opportunities in the neighbourhood.

“This is so that ASEAN can remain a vibrant and dynamic place for our peoples to live, work and play,” said PM Lee, adding that under Singapore’s stewardship, ASEAN will also continue to build relations with external partners.

Singapore will also continue to build relations with Asean's external partners, PM Lee added. If it can make Asean more effective and strengthen cooperation with its neighbours, this will benefit the man on the street, he said.

Photo & video from PM Lee's Facebook