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Thailand Sees Importance in Hosting the 14th ASEAN Summit

3 February 2009 (Readers 606)

The Thai government places high importance on hosting the 14th ASEAN Summit, so preparations for this event have been momentous.

As decided by the Cabinet on 7 January 2009, the ASEAN Summit is scheduled for 28 February to 1 March 2009 at the Dusit Thani Hua Hin Hotel in Cha-am, Phetchaburi province, on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand.

Due to some scheduling difficulties of some dialogue partners of ASEAN, this summit will play host to the 10 ASEAN member states only. According to the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Thani Thongpakdi, the summits of the ASEAN Plus 3 (China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea), of the ASEAN Plus 6 (China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India), and of the ASEAN and the United Nations will take place at a later date, hopefully in late April of this year.

Meetings of foreign ministers and economic ministers of the ASEAN member states will precede the 14th ASEAN Summit on February 26-27. These ministerial gatherings serve as a preparation for the summit.

During the upcoming summit, there will also be separate informal meetings between the leaders of the ASEAN member states and representatives from ASEAN civil society, ASEAN youths, and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly. These informal meetings serve as one of the channels for ASEAN peoples to participate in and contribute to the ASEANs decision-making process, as their views will be heard by the leaders.

On Thailands part, Mr. Thani said, hosting the summit allows the country to show the world that Thailand is still a strong and respected player in the Southeast Asian region. It will offer a chance to bring confidence and credibility back to the country after many negative portrayals in the past year.

Raising ASEAN awareness is another goal that is equally important, as it is one of the requirements for the successful realization of the ASEAN Community by the target year of 2015. Thailand also wishes to achieve the goal of having Thai people grasp a much better understanding and deeper knowledge of their regional organization. It also hopes that ASEAN member citizens will feel a strong sense of unity as ASEAN citizens, on top of being citizens of their respective countries. In sum, Thailand wants each and every one to feel that they are truly and genuinely part of ASEAN to develop a sense of ownership.

Holding the 14th ASEAN Summit presents a good opportunity for ASEAN members to strengthen existing bonds and relationships with ASEAN friends. This timely summit is important for the organization as it works to advance its various integration initiatives and to address global issues affecting the region, including food and energy security, climate change, disaster management, and the global financial turmoil.

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