BALI, Indonesia - The 19th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit kicked off here on Thursday, gathering heads of state or government from 10 ASEAN member states.
The summit, themed "ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations," is chaired by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
In the inaugural address, Yudhoyono showed sympathy towards the victims of natural disasters in the Southeast Asian region this year and expressed solidarity with the governments of affected countries.
"The summit is convened to solicit cooperation in the Southeast Asian region to reach the ASEAN Community by 2015," Yodhoyono said.
"The world is faced with great changes...(and) new threat of economic crisis. Continuous uncertainties are haunting the global economy besides financial fluctuation like food security, water security, the issue of energy, climate change... Amidst such great changes, there are also great hopes placed on our region," he said.
"History has proven and tested that the ASEAN association is mature, able to keep stability and strengthen economic growth," he added.
The meeting is set to address a broad range of issues impacting the region including global economy, G20 Summit, disaster management, climate change, food and energy security, regional integration.