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Monday, 17 June 2013 02:59

What kind of Role Thailand Should Act in ASEAN? Featured

THE RIVER CONDO for Sale in Bangkok

THE RIVER CONDO for Sale in Bangkok

Thailand joined Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore in establishing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), signing the Bangkok Declaration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand on 8 August 1967. ASEAN was conceived with an aim to promote peace and accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in a spirit of equality and partnership. It evolved to become a main driving force for the region and later on expanded to include every country within the region.

ASEAN has been a main pillar of Thai foreign policy. With its policy to transform the battlefield in Southeast Asia into a marketplace, Thailand proposed in 1992 an ASEAN Free Trade Area which would transform the entire ASEAN region into one huge market by the year 2003. Then in 1994, the Kingdom hosted the first ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a forum for political and security dialogue which brings together all major powers in the region.

Thailand has continuously and actively contributed to ASEAN’s greater integration and its goal of becoming an ASEAN community by 2015. On 24 July 2008, the Kingdom was entrusted with the duty of the ASEAN Chairmanship. An important fact that makes the Thai Chairmanship exceptional is that the ASEAN Charter, outlining the guiding principles for the new ASEAN, came into force on 15 December 2008, five months into its chairmanship. Besides putting the priority of realising the commitment under the ASEAN Charter, Thailand also emphasised the importance of making ASEAN a people-centred community and of reinforcing human development and human security for all.

To further reinforce Thailand’s aspiration to deliver the benefits to all the Peoples of ASEAN, the theme of the 14th ASEAN Summit which Thailand hosted in Cha-Am Hua Hin on 27 February – 1 March 2009 was “ASEAN Charter for ASEAN Peoples.” In addition, realising that peoples’ awareness and sense of ownership is crucial to the creation of a true ASEAN Community, Thailand organised the ASEAN Youth Summit to get people of the next generation more involved with ASEAN and initiated formal engagement with the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and representatives of Civil Society Organisations within the region. This has set in motion the process to foster greater awareness and greater participation with major stakeholders of ASEAN in the ASEAN process.

Another important milestone for realising an ASEAN Community was the establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) which was officially inaugurated at the 15th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Cha-Am Hua Hin on 23-25 October 2009. Thailand chaired AICHR’s first meeting. The establishment of AICHR was the first step for ASEAN to try to ensure that ASEAN will have at its core the interests of its peoples, and that the ASEAN Community which we are now building will develop into a caring and sharing community where the rights of the peoples will be ensured. Looking ahead, Thailand is prepared to work closely with all concerned parties to ensure that AICHR will be a strong pillar for human rights development in ASEAN.

Thailand’s ambition to build an ASEAN Community is also reflected in the theme that was chosen for the 15th ASEAN Summit – “Enhancing Connectivity, Empowering Peoples” which echoes Thailand’s vision that in moving forward with the creation of an ASEAN Community, ASEAN should focus its efforts in three areas: creating a Community that is action oriented, fostering a Community that is interconnected both physically and through mutual understanding, and realising the goal of a Community that truly belongs to the peoples of ASEAN.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional association composed of the ten countries comprising Southeast Asia—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Situated in a region covering an area of 4.46 million km� (equivalent to approximately 3% of the total land area of the earth), these countries are home to a burgeoning population of 600 million people, which is nearly 9% of the world's population. As a single economic block, its combined nominal GDP of USD 2 trillion ranks ninth in the world. Although relatively small compared to China, Japan, and Korea, ASEAN comprises one of the most dynamic emerging economies of the world, with an average nominal GDP growth rate among the ASEAN-6 (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines) of 4.5% during 1989–2009, and poised to grow between 5.7% and 6.4% in 2011–2012. In contrast, the global economy is expected to grow by only 3.3% and 3.7% in 2011 and 2012.

What Is the AEC?

ASEAN was formed in 1967 under the "3 pillars" of regional cooperation, namely security, socio-cultural integration, and economic integration. In 1997, ASEAN leaders declared the ASEAN Vision 2020, which aimed to transform ASEAN into a "stable, prosperous and highly competitive region with equitable economic development, and reduced poverty and socioeconomic disparities." Building on this vision, at their 2007 Summit ASEAN leaders affirmed their strong commitment to accelerate the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.

Read 1178 times Last modified on Monday, 17 June 2013 03:43
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