ASEAN Day speech: ASEAN has "become an indispensable diplomatic hub in the Asia-Pacific"

In his ASEAN Day speech as the Head of State of the current ASEAN Chair, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the 44-years-old Association of South East Asian Nations has now a unique opportunity to transform the region, shape the architecture of the Asia Pacific and to contribute to the global agenda.

"First, through its various dialogue mechanisms, and like no other regional organization, ASEAN has emerged to become an indispensable diplomatic hub in the Asia-Pacific," he said.

Second, ASEAN had demonstrated its economic resilience in the face of the recent global financial crisis, as the region was predicted to grow between 5.7% and 6.4% this year - significantly faster than the world average of 4.5%.

The third opportunity is that ASEAN has assets that are relevant to global issues: vast areas of forests, natural resources and commodities, strategic maritime space and resources and a huge population with dynamic youth.

"We are a region with extremely diverse religious and ethnic make-ups. We are open societies and we embrace moderation," he said.

Fourthly, ASEAN's increasing ability to speak with a collective voice in international forums enhances the organisation's capacity to contribute to the resolution of global issues.