For the ASEAN Day on Thursday, local media has released Lao citizens' discussion over the direction the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should take to achieve closer integration.
ASEAN Day on Aug. 8 marks the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the group in 1967. All ASEAN states, including Laos, are celebrating this important event. Local Lao daily Vientiane Times on Wednesday in its "Streetwise" column invites people to discuss the direction of ASEAN to speedier development.
An aged woman named Khamphuang Bounpaseuth, a resident of Vientiane capital said ASEAN is a very important regional group and one of the biggest communities in the region and the world, ASEAN members should continue working with each other in all fields.
"It's good that all ASEAN countries have close partnerships in all fields and have helped each other on the path to development and with problem solving. We should continue along this road and build upon what we have achieved so far." she said.
Since joining ASEAN, Laos has collaborated with all member countries and has benefited from assistance from the more developed nations. Many things have improved, particularly in terms of cooperation in social and economic development, which is very strong in this region and growing. This can be seen through the rapid increase in economic growth in member countries, including Laos, said a young Vientiane man named Souk.
"ASEAN is very strong and can access regional and international markets. We should continue to work together to develop and modernize our community so that we can look forward to an even brighter future." he said.
ASEAN comprises 10 member countries which work closely in all fields, and to implement policies and plans. They regularly help each other to solve problems. These are great conditions for social and economic development.
"I think those member countries which are more developed should help the less developed states as much as possible in order to achieve equality so that living standards in each country are more closely aligned." a young man named Xan, also from the capital of Laos, said.
"As there is still a sizeable gap in the development of the different member countries, this means the quality of life is different and so is socio-economic growth. ASEAN states can help each other by sharing lessons learnt and providing equipment, experts and funding to help speed development." he added.
Phonethip Somvilay, a woman in northern Laos' Xayaboury province, told the daily that Joining ASEAN has been very beneficial for all countries in the region, closer cooperation with regional countries in all fields and the development of more special partnerships has accelerated the development of each country. All member countries should continue to cooperate and help each other to develop the region together.
"There should be more individual cooperation between members. All countries should pay attention to the well-being, livelihoods and welfare of their people and work to improve their quality of life. A higher standard of living will make ASEAN members happier, healthier and able to access more opportunities." she said.