JAKARTA: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must remain at the core of regional affairs despite competing visions for a new Asia-Pacific diplomatic framework, the bloc's chief said Friday.
ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said the "plethora of regional architectures that has been proposed in recent times" suggested that the 10-nation bloc no longer had a central role in the "evolving regional make-up".
But in a statement defending ASEAN's relevance, the former Thai foreign minister said US President Barack Obama's decision to re-engage with the 42-year-old grouping had "debunked that theory".
"The pace and manner that the US, under the Obama administration, is re-engaging the region is certainly re-affirming that centrality," his office said in a statement.
"ASEAN centrality has received a crucial boost at a time when recent developments seemed to question it."
Click here to read the rest of the article
AFP (through Channel NewsAsia), "ASEAN chief presses for bloc's centrality," November 20, 2009,http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1019458/1/.h...