SINGAPORE: Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam said he believes ASEAN can overcome the challenge of another global economic crisis.

But Mr Shanmugam stressed it’s all the more important ASEAN remains focused on realising the common goal of an ASEAN Community by 2015.

Mr Shanmugam was speaking at a reception to celebrate ASEAN Day.

In commemoration of the group’s 44th birthday, embassies and consulates in all ASEAN member states will now fly the ASEAN flag permanently alongside their national flags.

Mr Shanmugam said the regional grouping has achieved a lot in the past 44 years.

It continues to be a key vehicle in promoting regional cooperation and contributing to peace, progress and prosperity in the region.

However, Mr Shanmugam said ASEAN cannot afford to rest on its laurels.

He cautioned there will continue to be challenges that ASEAN will need to deal with.

“The global economic outlook remains uncertain with the continuing debt crisis in Europe and the US economy struggling to find a solid footing,” Mr Shanmugam said.

“Rising food and energy prices are also real concerns. Yet, this is not the first time that ASEAN has faced such challenges.

“We have recovered from the 1998 Asian financial crisis as well as the 2008 global economic crisis. Each time, we have become stronger.”

-CNA/wk