คำกล่าวของนายชุตินทร คงศักดิ์ รองปลัดกระทรวงการต่างประเทศ ในการเปิดงานสัมมนา "“Connecting the Connectivities: Synergy through Enhanced Partnership” วันที่ ๒๒ มกราคม ๒๕๖๔

คำกล่าวของนายชุตินทร คงศักดิ์ รองปลัดกระทรวงการต่างประเทศ ในการเปิดงานสัมมนา "“Connecting the Connectivities: Synergy through Enhanced Partnership” วันที่ ๒๒ มกราคม ๒๕๖๔

25 ม.ค. 2564

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Opening Remarks by
His Excellency Mr. Chutintorn Gongsakdi,
Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand

at the Seminar on
“Connecting the Connectivities: Synergy through Enhanced Partnership”

Friday, 22 January 2021, via video conference (10.00 hrs.)

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His Excellency Mr. Kung Phoak (กุง โภค), Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community,

Mr. Ranjit Lamech, Regional Director for East Asia and Pacific of the World Bank,

Excellencies,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I warmly welcome you to today’s virtual seminar. I am delighted to see many online participants from ASEAN and external partners at our event.

2. I wish to thank the World Bank and the ASEAN Secretariat for co-hosting this seminar. My sincere appreciation also goes to all the speakers who join us today.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

3.“ASEAN would not be what it is today without connectivity”. Building intra-regional connectivity has been on top of our Community-building agenda for more than a decade. This strategic focus has as its ultimate goal, to improve people’s livelihoods and to create a sense of Community. To achieve that, ASEAN is currently implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 or MPAC 2025 to promote a seamlessly and comprehensively connected region.

4. Amidst the multi-faceted challenges that ASEAN is facing today, connectivity continues to gain more and more relevance. Amidst the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, connectivity plays a key role in maintaining supply chain integrity, supporting socio-economic recovery and sustainable well-being. While the projected economic growth of 5.5 per cent for ASEAN in 2021 remains uncertain, enhancing connectivity will certainly help us build back better, in line with the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, adopted at the 37th ASEAN Summit last November.

5.Connectivity is endless, should be universal, and could only be fully achieved through synergised efforts within ASEAN and beyond. That is why connectivity is identified as one of the areas of cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), with an emphasis on the concept of “Connecting the Connectivities” – to ensure that the connectivity initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region complement and support MPAC 2025, and vice versa. Through this concept, ASEAN and its external partners will be able to maximise the potential of connectivity and move forward towards a more resilient and sustainable future.

6. The key question for us today is: “How can we work together to promote Connecting the Connectivities in order to achieve these goals, especially during the post COVID-19 recovery?”

7. To answer this question, Thailand suggests that we take the 3Es approach that are in line with strategic areas of MPAC 2025.

8. The first E is “Ensuring resilient and sustainable regional supply chains”. Improving supply chain efficiency, such as better border facilitation, could increase ASEAN’s GDP by 0.05 per cent by 2025. We therefore need to work together to enhance seamless logistics by enhancing trade routes, harmonising regulations and standards, and reducing non-tariff barriers. The signing of the RCEP Agreement last November is indeed an important step towards the more seamless flow of goods, services and investment in the market of 15 countries, accounting for about 30 per cent of global GDP.

9. The second E is Empowering Digital ASEAN”. As digital integration can bring about a USD 1 trillion boost in GDP by 2025, ASEAN must build a new economic ecosystem to promote the development of digital infrastructure and digital integration. Under MPAC 2025, Thailand is developing an “ASEAN Digital Hub” to enhance digital infrastructure in ASEAN. Moreover, we also seek to advance our cooperation and partnership through the development of the “Digital Park Thailand”, which is part of our Eastern Economic Corridor or EEC initiative. ASEAN should also enhance digital trade connectivity in order to enhance business opportunities, for example, by exploring the possibility to develop an interoperable “digital trade platform”. In this regard, I wish to commend the ASEAN Business Advisory Council in carrying forward this initiative, which will contribute to economic recovery and empowerment of businesses and MSMEs.

10. The third E is Enhancing sustainability”. Initiatives under MPAC 2025 on sustainable infrastructure and sustainable urbanisation would help enhance resilience to better manage future crises and disruptions. It is thus crucial for ASEAN to continue its progress on green infrastructure and the ASEAN Smart Cities Network. SDGs will of course remain our guiding compass in advancing sustainable connectivity. To move forward towards sustainable economic development, “Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model” or “BCG Model” can be further leveraged in ASEAN, APEC and BIMSTEC, including in the context of regional connectivity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

11. Finally, we need to “connect the different partners” to make “Connecting the Connectivities” work. I am therefore encouraged to see that several Dialogue Partners have shown keen interest to cooperate with ASEAN on this matter. To that end, this seminar seeks concrete ways to further promote partnership on connectivity, including through the implementation of relevant Joint Statements with ASEAN Plus Three, China, Japan and the EU, as well as further enhancing cooperation with other Dialogue Partners.

12. Connectivity is certainly an infinite task, but an empowering one. I am confident that today’s seminar will create momentum for dialogue and cooperation on “Connecting the Connectivities”. I look forward to hearing innovative and concrete ideas from today’s sessions. I am certain that many recommendations from the seminar will be taken forward so that our region will be even better connected and all of us can enjoy a more resilient and sustainable future.

Thank you.

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