Pattaya Daily News

27 May 2009 :: 17:05:54 pm 27202

Thailand Urged to come up with New Equilibrium to fully benefit from The Asean Community

Thailand has been urged to come up with new equilibrium in its society by effectively managing its internal problems, so as to fully benefit from the integration of ASEAN members as the ASEAN Community.
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The call was made by ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan in his talk to a group of 128 senior officials at the executive level and 40 inspectors-general from various ministries at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok on 25 May 2009. The group was attending a seminar on Thailand’s role on the world stage, as part of the training programs organized by the Office of the Civil Service Commission.

Dr. Surin cited ASEAN as the most valuable diplomatic legacy given by Thailand to the region and the world community. The diplomatic legacy, which is now referred to as architecture of cooperation, dates back to 42 years ago when ASEAN was founded, on August 8, 1967. At that time, former Foreign Minister of Thailand Dr. Thanat Khoman invited his counterparts from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore to come to Thailand for discussions on regional cooperation in order to enjoy the blessing of liberty.

Dr. Surin said that ASEAN, in its initial stage, did not focus on political and security matters but on economic, cultural, and social affairs. The regional grouping has grown to cover 10 countries, today comprising 570 million people now. In 2007, leaders of the 10 ASEAN members decided to establish, through the ASEAN Charter, the legal and institutional framework for ASEAN. He stated that the principles of this charter are related to the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.

According to Dr. Surin, intra-ASEAN trade is 25 percent of ASEAN’s total trade of 1.6 trillion US dollars, making trade within the 10 countries of ASEAN worth 400 billion dollars. ASEAN as a group would have more bargaining power than each individual country, so it is necessary for the 10 nations to stick together. ASEAN has set a clear goal to realize the ASEAN Community by 2015. The ASEAN Community consists of three main pillars, namely the ASEAN Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

Dr. Surin said that among the three pillars, the ASEAN Security Community was likely to be realized later than the two other pillars because of political differences within the 10 members, which required good management in dealing with them. He said that economic integration in ASEAN would lead to the free movement of skilled labor. This means that the future generations of ASEAN would be able work in any ASEAN nation. In this regard, Thailand needed to improve the quality of education, so that its people would be able to compete effectively with those from other ASEAN partners. He pointed out that the world was now excited at the ASEAN economic integration, which would increase bargaining power for ASEAN people and offer more opportunities for various countries to trade with ASEAN.

Dr. Surin cited the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community as one of the most important factors to make people in this region feel that they belong to ASEAN, thus encouraging them to join forces in pushing for the realization of the ASEAN Community. So ASEAN needs to promote its common identity and a sense of belonging among its peoples.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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