Delegates from the United Kingdom (UK), European Union (EU), and Laos shared their perspectives on Asean policy, integration and connectivity and discussed Laos’ preparation for Asean chairmanship at a policy roundtable meeting yesterday in Vientiane.
The meeting on Laos’ Preparation for Asean Chairmanship 2016 was co-chaired by Director General of Asean Department Mr Phongsavanh Sisoulath, British Ambassador to Laos Mr Hugh Evans, and Chief Executive of Wilton Park Mr Richard Burge.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss mutually beneficial ways in dealing with regional structures, with specific emphasis on the UK as part of the EU, and Laos within Asean. It also looked at contentious issues and how the EU and Asean regional bodies could learn from each other in overcoming them.
In addition, it discussed procedures of chairmanship, building consensus, and how best to lead discussions to concrete conclusion and facilitate discussions on the EU and Asean from a UK and Laos perspective; looking at future strategy, opportunities, and policies.
According to a statement from the UK, following the re-establis hment of the British Embassy in Laos in 2013 under the leadership of William Hague, the UK had been working towards greater prosperity and shared goals with the Lao people. With diplomatic relations in the early stage of development, there were many areas in which Laos, Asean, the EU and UK could learn from each other.
According to the statement from Laos, holding the chairmanship position came with the advantage of steering the objectives of an institution. Countries worldwide reveled in the opportun ity to steer the direction of their respective regional institutions.
With ch airmanship of Asean comes a similar position of status. Therein, Laos would have the opportunity to align its priorities with allies and work towards a highly ef ficient year of oversight and chairmanship.
According to Wilton Park’s statement, dissecting what was commonly known as a rule-based system offered an important insight into how, in a continually changing international system, it remained possible for states to cooperate and engage with one another whilst maintaining as stable an environment as possible.
Through outlining the principles and characteristics associated with such a system it was possible to view a commitment to these ideal international values at a regional level through the work of Asean, and at a domestic level through the architecture of good governance.