Surin: ASEAN to speed up integrated community under its new charter

Surin: ASEAN to speed up integrated community under its new charter

www.chinaview.cn 2008-08-09 15:32:06

JAKARTA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua)– The ASEAN Charter will inspire the regional community with visionary of the people’s prosperity in the future, despite it is still facing many unresolved issues, the organization’s secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said.

    In an interview with Xinhua after the celebration of the 41st anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which fell on Friday, Surin said this is a good time for the member states to reflect on how far ASEAN has come.

    “We want ASEAN not only a diplomatic mingling among leaders and diplomats themselves. But it really has to aim at the purpose of promoting a people-oriented ASEAN, all sectors of society are encouraged to participate in, and benefit from the process of ASEAN integration and community building, he stressed.

    Another urgency in improving ASEAN’s values in the region, Surin said, was bridging the gap between its new members and the old ones.

    ASEAN was established by five original countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, The Philippines and Singapore in August 1967. It grows bigger as other five new members joined in, namely Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

    “We feel that there was a necessity to bridge the gap between new and old member states by establishing cooperation, dialogue partnership on the basis of human resources improvement and natural resources exploration for the prosperity of the people in the region,” he added.

    Referring to the resolution of disputes among ASEAN members, such as the latest dispute between Cambodia and Thailand about the Preah Vihear temple complex on the border, the issue of deported Indonesian workers by Malaysia, he said, the dispute between Cambodia and Thailand has been facilitated by ASEAN with a fruitful result of reconciliation.

    Other disputes could also be solved through negotiations and dialogues, he added.

    Referring to the just failed WTO talks, Surin said, “We can be in the middle for the further deal in the coming round.”

    ASEAN has a tremendous population of 560 million in 2006, a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers, a combined gross domestic product of almost 1,100 billion U.S. dollars, and a total trade of about 1,400 billion dollars.

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