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The ASEAN Committee in Wellington, New Zealand hosts the 48th ASEAN Day Reception 2015

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The Heads of Missions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Committee in Wellington (ACW), New Zealand, namely H.E. Jose Antonio Morato Tavares, Ambassador of Indonesia, H.E. Dato’ Lim Kim Eng, High Commissioner of Malaysia, H.E. Virginia H. Benavidez, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines, H.E. Bernard Baker, High Commissioner of Singapore, H.E. Maris Sangiampongsa, Ambassador of Thailand, and H.E. Nguyen Viet Dung, Ambassador of Viet Nam, jointly organized a reception to mark the 48th Anniversary of the Establishment of ASEAN or ASEAN Day as well as the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Partnership on the evening of 11 August 2015 at the Royal Thai Embassy. The non-resident Ambassador of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to New Zealand based in Australia, H.E. Phomma Khammanichanh, also attended the Reception.

The ASEAN Ambassadors played host to some 200 guests from the diplomatic corps, host government officials, Members of Parliament, captains of industry, think tanks, academic leaders, and friends of ASEAN. The Honourable Tim Groser, Minister for Trade and Minister for Climate Change Issues, represented New Zealand as the evening’s Guest of Honour. The event was held to celebrate and further raise awareness of the ASEAN’s theme, “One Vision, One Identity, One Community” towards the establishment of a people-centred ASEAN Community by the end of 2015.

The reception commenced with the singing of the ASEAN Anthem, “The ASEAN Way”, by the Wellington Filipino Community Choir. The current Chair of the ACW, H.E. Nguyen Viet Dung, Ambassador of Viet Nam to New Zealand, highlighted the importance of relations between ASEAN and New Zealand. Ambassador Dung also introduced H.E. Le Luong Minh, Secretary General of ASEAN, who spoke via a recorded video. Secretary General Minh provided the latest developments in ASEAN and the progress ASEAN is making towards creating the ASEAN Community. This was followed by a Welcome Statement by the Chargé d'Affaires of the Royal Thai Embassy, Mr. Puttaporn Ewtoksan. H.E. Dato’ Lim Kim Eng, the High Commissioner of Malaysia also delivered a speech on ASEAN’s progress towards becoming an Economic Community by the end of 2015 and Malaysia’s hosting of the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings on 28 April 2015.

The Guest of Honour, the Honourable Tim Groser, Minister for Trade and Minister for Climate Change Issues, focused his remarks on the 40th Anniversary of New Zealand’s relations with ASEAN as a dialogue partner. Minister Groser stated that the ASEAN region is now one of New Zealand’s most significant sources of tourists, students and migrants and that today in New Zealand there is a vibrant community of around 80,000 people of South East Asian origin, including 40,000 Filipinos who have made New Zealand their home. He reiterated New Zealand’s commitment to lift New Zealand’s engagement in areas of mutual strength and value such as leadership, education and training, agriculture and trade.

The guests were presented with a medley of cultural performances from ASEAN Member States. A sumptuous spread of ASEAN traditional and authentic delicacies contributed by each ASEAN Diplomatic Mission was also prepared for guests to savour and enjoy.

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