Timor-Leste´s entry to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is “an absolute priority”, according to the country´s President-elect, José Ramos-Horta.
“We will probably join ASEAN, within a year or two at the latest. We will be part of a region with 700 million people and a Gross Domestic Product of close to four trillion dollars”, said Ramos-Horta in a speech from Dili to an on-line forum in Portugal.
ASEAN membership is “an absolute priority” and represents “the great opportunity for Timor-Leste to take a great leap forward in its development”.
In addition to wanting to maintain bilateral relations with Indonesia, a country with which Timor-Leste has “reconciled and normalized its relations”, Australia and New Zealand, Ramos-Horta defended the expansion of these relations to Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Correia South, Japan and China.
José Ramos-Horta will take office, for the second time, on 20 May, the date on which Timor-Leste celebrates 20 years of the restoration of independence.