ASEAN and Japan to commemorate 40 years of ties in 2013

ASEAN's leaders have started their second day of summit meeting with their dialogue partners from China, Japan, South Korea, India and the United States. 

This comes a day after the regional group has settled their housekeeping matters, including confirming targets to achieve the ASEAN Community vision by 31st December 2015.

ASEAN and Japan will commemorate forty years of ties in 2013 and Singapore supports Japan's plans to have a commemorative summit.

Sharing his thoughts at the ASEAN-Japan Summit, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said strategically, ASEAN and Japan should enhance links further. 

So he has suggested that both sides fully implement the Joint Declaration for Enhancing ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership and its Plan of Action 2011-2015.

Mr Lee said he is also happy that Japan is participating in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to be launched at the end of the Summit meetings on Tuesday. 

Mr Lee stressed that the RCEP is not merely a free trade agreement, but a strategic partnership between ASEAN and key partners.

PM Lee also called on ASEAN to build on its strong ties with Japan.

He said Japan is ASEAN's third largest trading partner, while ASEAN is Japan's second largest trading partner and trade has increased more than 25 per cent to US$200 billion in 2011.

Singapore will also do its part to further ASEAN-Japan relations.

Mr Lee said Japan will host the 9th Japan-Singapore Symposium in the first quarter of next year and it is a valuable opportunity to discuss strengthening ASEAN-Japan cooperation and Japan's engagement with Southeast Asia.

Much of Monday's meetings will focus on the one-on-one dialogue sessions with the partner countries and the commemoration of the 15th year of the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders Dialogue which involves the leaders of ASEAN together with those from China, Japan and South Korea.

ASEAN and India will be commemorating 20 years of ties and Indian Premier Dr Manmohan Singh is expected to share with his ASEAN counterparts plans for the commemorative summit due in New Delhi next month.

ASEAN leaders will conclude their meetings for Monday with the 4th ASEAN-US Leaders meeting with American President Barrack Obama who has arrived in Phnom Penh after his visit to Myanmar.