Singapore's ASEAN 2018 chairmanship to focus on 'resilience and innovation'

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his partner Honeylet welcome Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his partner Ho Ching prior to the opening of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits at the Cultural Cen

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his partner Honeylet welcome Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his partner Ho Ching prior to the opening of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits at the Cultural Cen

This is so Asean can better deal with emerging security challenges in its neighbourhood such cyber security, transnational crime and terrorism.

President Rodrigo Duterte turned over the chairmanship to Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a ceremony at the end of the 31st ASEAN Summit on Tuesday.

And it will find innovative ways to manage and make use of digital technologies, so Asean's people can gain skills.

He said that ASEAN will hold special summits in Australia and India in 2018 in a bid to continue building relations with ASEAN's dialogue partners.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed Tuesday night that the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei, Lim Jock Hoi, has been appointed as the next secretary-general of ASEAN.

Duterte handed over the ceremonial gavel signifying the Philippines passing the baton to Singapore to lead ASEAN effective next year.

It will also steer the grouping to press on with regional economic integration and boost regional connectivity, to keep Asean competitive and prosperous.

He stressed that Singapore will continue to promote stronger ASEAN-China relations including initiatives to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ASEAN-China Dialogue Partnership.

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Member countries will be eager to see how the incoming Asean chair approaches dealing with the possibility of member-states being made to pick sides if relations between China and the U.S. fray.

Singapore will also continue to enhance cooperation with other regional and global leaders at Asean-led platforms such as the Asean Plus One, Asean Plus Three, Asean Regional Forum, Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus and the East Asia Summit.

He particularly lauded the finalization of the framework for the code of conduct on South China Sea, conclusion of free trade agreement between ASEAN and Hong Kong, and the adoption of consensus on the promotion of the rights of migrant workers.

Lee, for his part, congratulated Duterte for the Philippines' "successful chairmanship" of the ASEAN Summit.

PM Lee also thanked outgoing Asean's secretary-general Le Luong Minh, whose five-year term is ending, and the Asean secretariat's staff for their dedication and support of the grouping's agenda.

And he welcomed the incoming secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi, who is now Brunei's permanent secretary for foreign affairs and trade.

It will build on the good work by current chair the Philippines and previous chairs to strengthen the Asean community, he said.

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