ASEAN in the 21st century: What’s happening and why it matters

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ASEAN in the 21st century: What’s happening and why it matters

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ASEAN is evolving steadily, but with the deadline for the inauguration of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) set for this year, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN from 2008-2012, explained at the Policy Question Time hosted by Friends of Europe that the AEC is, and will continue to be, a work-in-progress. There will be no big-bang, but another step made in the region’s steady integration. The presence of the deadline, and the knowledge that 82% of basic instruments have so far been achieved, allows developed ASEAN members and investing countries around the world to put the pressure on those lagging behind. As Dr Pitsuwan said for global investors, ‘you have the right to expect more’. The world expects much from ASEAN, and Dr Pitsuwan assured that this expectation is correct, that ASEAN will not disappoint.

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Surin Pitsuwan, one of Asia’s best-known and most influential thinkers, led ASEAN from 2008-2012 and has also been Thailand’s Foreign Minister. During his time as Secretary-General of ASEAN he was tasked with implementing the ASEAN Charter and preparing the region for entry into the ASEAN Community in 2015.

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