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33rd ASEAN Summit 2018

33rd ASEAN Summit 2018

Singapore hosted the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits at Suntec Singapore Convention Centre from 11 to 15 November 2018. The Summits were chaired by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. PM Lee had a Working Dinner with ASEAN leadersm as well as Summits with China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States. He also had Bilateral Meetings with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Australian PM Scott Morrison, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and Indian PM Narendra Modi. He also had pull asides with New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden, and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera. Apart from leaders of all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, heads of 8 key partner nations of ASEAN also participated. Over 400 companies from over 100 countries took part as exhibitors in the summit. The leaders of ASEAN’s 10 member countries reviewed ASEAN’s achievements in the year 2018 while mapping out a new course for the year ahead.

The Summit began on November 13, 2018. The opening ceremony of the summit was addressed by Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, Chairman of this year’s Summit. In his speech, Lee Hsien Loong called on ASEAN members and partners to uphold multilateralism and international cooperation and tackle common challenges including terrorism and climate change.

The Summit saw the presence of leaders of partner countries such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, the US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were not in attendance. The Vice President Mike Pence represented the US, while the Chinese side was represented by Premier Li Keqiang.

Key Highlights

  • ASEAN members reaffirmed their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision for a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN.
  • The members exchanged views on recent global and regional developments, and discussed how to take ASEAN forward at a time of rapid change.”
  • Singapore Prime Minister, the outgoing Chairman, in his statement said, that the member countries have reviewed ASEAN’s progress in building a resilient and innovative Community, and deepening links with the rest of the world.
  • The members also resolved to fully tap the opportunities arising from the digital revolution, while staying responsive to emerging issues, including non- traditional security threats and environmental challenges, and ensuring sustainable development.
  • The ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Smart Cities Framework and took stock of ASEAN’s achievements in 2018 in strengthening ASEAN’s resilience and innovation.
  • The ASEAN leaders, along with their counterparts from countries participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), discussed the process of the RCEP negotiations at the 2nd RCEP Summit.
  • The leaders also exchanged views on regional and international issues with their counterparts at the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Summit and 13th East Asia Summit.
  • Singapore PM Lee handed over the ASEAN Chairmanship to Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.


The ASEAN Summit is a semiannual meeting held by the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in relation to economic, political, security and socio-cultural development of Southeast Asian countries. In addition, it serves as a prominent regional (Asia) and international (worldwide) conference, with world leaders attending its related summits and meetings to discuss about various problems and global issues, strengthening cooperation, and making decisions. The league of ASEAN is currently connected with other countries who aimed to participate on the missions and visions of the league. Apparently, the league is conducting an annual meetings with other countries in an organisation collectively known as the ASEAN dialogue partners. ASEAN +3 adds China, Japan and South Korea. The First ASEAN summit was held February 1976 in Bali, Indonesia. At this summit, ASEAN expressed its readiness to “develop fruitful relations” and mutually beneficial co-operation with other countries of the region. The ASEAN leaders signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. On 2nd ASEAN summit held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1977 was the occasion for the first summit meeting between Japan and ASEAN. Japan expressed its intention to promote co-operation with ASEAN.

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