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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said here Tuesday that an increasing integrated ASEAN is on course to be the world's fourth largest economy by 2050.
"Some even estimate that we could be the fourth-largest market after the EU, U.S. and China by 2030 - only 15 years from now," Najib said when addressing the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting.
The prime minister said that ASEAN has the third biggest workforce, only after India and China, and it is realistic for ASEAN to see itself as a "Third Force" in Asia.
Referring to reports of several renowned institutions and some experts' remarks, Najib said that ASEAN is facing great opportunities and has made a lot of achievements, adding that ASEAN should play a more active role on the global arena.
Since the First ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, held in Bangkok in 1967, Najib said ASEAN has had an admirable record in preserving harmony in one of the most diverse parts of the world.
Najib said that the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 will be adopted at the 27th ASEAN Summit in November, and a single community for ASEAN will be established by the end of the December.
"But being a community also means placing appropriate emphasis on the development agenda," he said, adding that work must be done to narrow the gaps among the 10 member states which are at different stages.
"It is essential if we are to build a truly integrated ASEAN, which is why inclusiveness and sustainability must be at the heart of our policies going forward," he added. Enditem