Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held the 22nd ASEAN Plus Three (China-Japan-South Korea) plenary session during the 35th ASEAN summit in Bangkok on Monday.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha welcomed his counterparts, highlighting the importance of the forum regarding community building in the region and improving the quality of life of the people, before allowing them to say a few words before the closed-doors meeting.

Chinese Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang stated that APT cooperation was a successful example of regional cooperation “given the complex and profound changes in regional and international landscape.”

"We can also contribute to the global response to the slowing growth and to cope with the complex situation, to promote economic growth and contribute to peace in the region and prosperity in the world," he added.

While praising the robust economic block that accounts for the 30 per cent of the global economy, South Korean President Moon Jae-in took the opportunity to express his concerns regarding trade protectionism, and called on his counterparts to protect “the free trade order from high wind and bring the global economy back on the track of expanding equilibrium.”

During Japan's turn to speak, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to promote cooperation in the area of marine plastic litter and trade, inviting countries to adopt the Osaka Blue Ocean vision which aims to reduce additional pollution due to marine plastic litter by 2050.

The 35th ASEAN summit kicked off on Thursday and is due to end on Monday, November 4. State representatives of Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam are expected to discuss various topics including connectivity, sustainability, and environmental and financial inclusion among ASEAN states.

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