Thai capital rolls out welcome mat for ASEAN summit leaders

The Thai capital of Bangkok was rolling out the red carpet for the ten leaders of Southeast Asia and its allies as it is hosting the 35th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related meetings, including the 14th East Asia Summit, with trade deals, connectivity, and conflict resolution high on the agenda. Dates are between 31 October and 5 November 2019.

Security was tight and clearly present around the Thai capital as the leaders, and their delegations began to arrive.

Among the nations, differences still exist over details on trade competition rules and measures to mitigate any negative side-effects of the agreement, which seeks to deepen economic ties between its signatories through free trade.

Thailand is pushing hard for ASEAN to adopt 13 economic plans it has proposed. They include the ASEAN digital integration framework action plan, the ASEAN innovation roadmap, the guidelines for the development of skilled labor, and professional services for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), the ASEAN declaration on industrial transformation to Industry 4.0, the digitalization of ASEAN Micro Enterprises.

Leaders also planned to discuss the further development of hard and digital infrastructure connecting the region, including high-speed rail lines.

Other topics they scheduled to take up include regional and security issues.

In a ceremony at the conclusion of the summit, Thailand will formally hand over the chairmanship of ASEAN to Viet Nam. The Kingdom will, nonetheless, continue it is role as chair country until January 1, 2020, when Viet Nam will actually take the reins of the organization for its term. The ASEAN chairmanship rotates annually between its ten member states.

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