Since gaining independence from Indonesia in 1999, Timor Leste has flourished into one of the more progressive democracies in Southeast Asia.
Dr Ramos-Horta said that it was preferable for his nation to become the 11th official member of Asean in 2023.
The $490 million port at Tibar Bay near the capital Dili is expected to expand trade for Timor Leste, one of the poorest countries in the region.
The bloc will now draw up a roadmap setting out the criteria Timor Leste must hit before being granted full membership.
Some 20 years after it became independent from Indonesia, Timor Leste continues to struggle with poverty and underdevelopment.
The writer says Timor-Leste can turn itself into a trailblazer in participatory eco-sustainability regardless of its membership into ASEAN.
The 72-year-old was a critical figure in Timor Leste's independence struggle, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996.
Southeast Asia’s newest country has made significant strides in its short history but acceptance by its neighbours remain fleeting. Rated the most democratic nation in South…