MANILA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said here Sunday that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) would continue to engage the world as the 10-nation bloc held a grand gala to celebrate its 50th anniversary with leaders of its dialogue partners.
The celebration was held ahead of the 31st ASEAN summit and related summits, which gathered leaders from the 10 ASEAN countries and ASEAN dialogue partners, including major countries like China and the United States.
"I am deeply honored to host this rare occasion where a number of world leaders are gathered in celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN," said Duterte, whose country holds the ASEAN chairmanship this year.
ASEAN has continued community building under Philippine's chairmanship, said Duterte.
"We continue to harmonize the three pillars of the ASEAN Community by strengthening economic integration and building a common identity, while embracing our uniqueness and diversity," he said.
"ASEAN countries continue to engage the world," said the Philippine president. "From its founding, we have established meaningful and constructive engagements with external partners anchored on ASEAN centrality."
He added that he was looking forward to having constructive and substantive discussions with other leaders during the summits.
At the 31st ASEAN summit, leaders are expected to discuss the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the way forward. It would be followed by summits between ASEAN and its dialogue partners including 10+1, 10+3 and the East Asia Summit.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.