50th Founding Anniversary of ASEAN Celebrated by Diplomatic Community in Budapest

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Ambassadors of ASEAN Members States, guest of honor Amb. Szylveszter Bus, and members of the diplomatic corps posing in the traditional ASEAN way.

08 August 2017 – The momentous occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was celebrated in Budapest at a flag hosting ceremony organized by the five (5) resident embassies of ASEAN Member States in Hungary (the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam). The program was held at the Residence of the Indonesian Ambassador and attended by members of the diplomatic corps, special guests included the Ambassadors of the ASEAN partner countries from the Hungarian public and private sectors.

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Raising of the ASEAN flag.

The program began with the ceremonial raising of the ASEAN flag, which was followed by the welcome remarks of the Indonesian Ambassador Wening Esthyprobo Fatandari. As host, Ambassador Wening welcomed the guests and noted the importance of the occasion.

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Amb. Maria Fe T. Pangilinan delivers her remarks on the Philippine chairmanship of ASEAN.

Ambassador Maria Fe T. Pangilinan delivered the opening speech, considering that the Philippines is the current chair of ASEAN. In her brief speech, Ambassador Pangilinan gave an overview of ASEAN and its rich history as a regional organization, from a five (5)-member organization in the ‘60s to the dynamic entity of today that has a population of 625 million and a land mass of 4.4 million sq. km.

She also touched on the challenges faced by ASEAN countries, individually and collectively through the decades, from demonstrating that the member states has the will/tenacity to independently conduct the affairs of Southeast Asia from the Cold War era, all the way to the present day highly important issues that confront the region and other parts of the world, including current questions on conflicting territorial claims in its waters.

She noted that through all this, ASEAN has ensured that its core beliefs on sovereignty, equality, and non-interference are respected. The consensus-based decision making, while presenting its own difficulties, has ensured that conflict is minimized and peace and friendships are maintained.

Ambassador Pangilinan lauded the developments in the three pillars of the ASEAN Community: political-security, economic, and socio-cultural. She also cited that the ongoing Philippine chairmanship has resulted in the adoption of a framework for the negotiation of a code of conduct on the South China Sea.

Deputy State Secretary Szilveszter Bus of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was the guest of honor at the event who delivered a brief speech. Ambassador Bus is well-acquainted with ASEAN, having previously served as Hungarian Ambassador to Indonesia, with jurisdiction in the Philippines and Malaysia.

He noted the fast paced and great developments in ASEAN-Hungary relations, with Hungary now having six (6) embassies in Southeast Asia (with the embassy in Manila opening in early 2017), and many trade offices operating in ASEAN cities.

The guest of honor also shared his thoughts on the comparison between ASEAN and the European Union (EU). He said that while ASEAN has spoken of drawing inspiration from the successes of the EU, the EU is equally inspired by the successes of ASEAN and the developments in Southeast Asia. He noted that as EU currently confronts major challenges, there is much that can be learned from the experiences of ASEAN that has made it an exemplary model of regional cooperation.

The 50th anniversary celebration was also an opportunity to showcase the rich and diverse cuisines of Southeast Asia, as famous dishes from the ASEAN countries were served to the guests.  The Philippines contributed the mouth-watering and well- loved beef caldereta and cassava cake.  END

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