New ASEAN Secretary-General takes office

Reading Time: 3 minutes
ASEAN Secretary-General 2013-2018 Le Luong Minh

Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh took over the office as ASEAN Secretary-General at a hand-over ceremony on January 7 at the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta from his predecessor Surin Pitsuwan. Minh has been appointed for a non-renewable term of five years, selected from among the 10 member states based on alphabetical rotation. After Thailand, it was Vietnam’s turn to nominate its representative for this position.

Minh said after taking over that his urgent task will be to ensure that the ASEAN Economic Community, set to kick off in January 2016, is functionally planned, adding that regional peace and security are essential to this success. He said that ASEAN will have to reach conclusions on the conflict in the South China Sea and strengthen relationship with negotiating partners while maintaining its neutrality.

The new ASEAN Secretary-General has been in his country’s foreign service since 1975, just after the reunification of Vietnam. He graduated from the Institute of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi, Vietnam, and the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He has served in the foreign ministry in various capacities, including as Deputy Director-General, then as Director-General for International Organisations and as Director-General for Multilateral Economic Cooperation.

Minh also spent 14 years working at the United Nations. He was the President of the UN Security Council twice – first from July 1-31, 2008, and second from October 1-31, 2009 – when Vietnam held a non-permanent seat on the Security Council. He has served as Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister since 2008.

Pitsuwan lauded

ASEAN Secretary-General 2008-2012 Dr. Surin Pitsuwan

Minh’s predecessor Surin Pitsuwan, who held the position from 2008-2012, has been lauded as a “hard act to follow” by observers. Pitsuwan has raised the international profile of ASEAN, with the ASEAN Charter in place as a legal entity.

Under his helm, ASEAN has had to deal with an intra-ASEAN conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, the devastation and reconstruction that followed Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, as well as ways to sustain ASEAN centrality amid intense competition among its major powers. As a former foreign minister of Thailand, Surin also utilised his experience and made use of his network to broaden ASEAN’s works and programmes, as well as international recognition.

A Jakarta Post editorial published on December 20 praised Surin’s performance, stating unconditionally that of all the 12 secretaries-general who have come and gone since 1976, he has been the most effective.

It has not been announced which future job Pitsuwan is going to take on. According to his own statements to Inside Investor, there are plenty of jobs awaiting him, whether in Thailand or in international organisations such as the UN. It is likely, however, that he will play the role as an adviser for ASEAN for a while and possibly even remain within the organisation.

Brunei chairs ASEAN in 2013

In 2013, Brunei is heading ASEAN as per a rotating country system. The small oil-rich nation’s chairmanship comes at a challenging moment. Externally, ASEAN has to deal with new leaders in China, Japan and South Korea, whose expectations of ASEAN are still unknown. Brunei is expected to provide leadership during high-level talks on complex issues that defy immediate resolution, analysts says. The US-China relations and their impact on the region and the Asia-Pacific are at the forefront of these concerns.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Reading Time: 3 minutes

ASEAN Secretary-General 2013-2018 Le Luong Minh

Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh took over the office as ASEAN Secretary-General at a hand-over ceremony on January 7 at the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta from his predecessor Surin Pitsuwan. Minh has been appointed for a non-renewable term of five years, selected from among the 10 member states based on alphabetical rotation. After Thailand, it was Vietnam’s turn to nominate its representative for this position.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

ASEAN Secretary-General 2013-2018 Le Luong Minh

Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh took over the office as ASEAN Secretary-General at a hand-over ceremony on January 7 at the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta from his predecessor Surin Pitsuwan. Minh has been appointed for a non-renewable term of five years, selected from among the 10 member states based on alphabetical rotation. After Thailand, it was Vietnam’s turn to nominate its representative for this position.

Minh said after taking over that his urgent task will be to ensure that the ASEAN Economic Community, set to kick off in January 2016, is functionally planned, adding that regional peace and security are essential to this success. He said that ASEAN will have to reach conclusions on the conflict in the South China Sea and strengthen relationship with negotiating partners while maintaining its neutrality.

The new ASEAN Secretary-General has been in his country’s foreign service since 1975, just after the reunification of Vietnam. He graduated from the Institute of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi, Vietnam, and the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He has served in the foreign ministry in various capacities, including as Deputy Director-General, then as Director-General for International Organisations and as Director-General for Multilateral Economic Cooperation.

Minh also spent 14 years working at the United Nations. He was the President of the UN Security Council twice – first from July 1-31, 2008, and second from October 1-31, 2009 – when Vietnam held a non-permanent seat on the Security Council. He has served as Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister since 2008.

Pitsuwan lauded

ASEAN Secretary-General 2008-2012 Dr. Surin Pitsuwan

Minh’s predecessor Surin Pitsuwan, who held the position from 2008-2012, has been lauded as a “hard act to follow” by observers. Pitsuwan has raised the international profile of ASEAN, with the ASEAN Charter in place as a legal entity.

Under his helm, ASEAN has had to deal with an intra-ASEAN conflict between Thailand and Cambodia, the devastation and reconstruction that followed Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, as well as ways to sustain ASEAN centrality amid intense competition among its major powers. As a former foreign minister of Thailand, Surin also utilised his experience and made use of his network to broaden ASEAN’s works and programmes, as well as international recognition.

A Jakarta Post editorial published on December 20 praised Surin’s performance, stating unconditionally that of all the 12 secretaries-general who have come and gone since 1976, he has been the most effective.

It has not been announced which future job Pitsuwan is going to take on. According to his own statements to Inside Investor, there are plenty of jobs awaiting him, whether in Thailand or in international organisations such as the UN. It is likely, however, that he will play the role as an adviser for ASEAN for a while and possibly even remain within the organisation.

Brunei chairs ASEAN in 2013

In 2013, Brunei is heading ASEAN as per a rotating country system. The small oil-rich nation’s chairmanship comes at a challenging moment. Externally, ASEAN has to deal with new leaders in China, Japan and South Korea, whose expectations of ASEAN are still unknown. Brunei is expected to provide leadership during high-level talks on complex issues that defy immediate resolution, analysts says. The US-China relations and their impact on the region and the Asia-Pacific are at the forefront of these concerns.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid