ASEAN Sec-Gen Highlights Japan’s Role In ASEAN’s Growth

A more integrated East Asia is needed in the era of globalization, said the ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan.

AsianScientist (Jun. 4, 2012) – Maintaining growth, stabilizing economic cooperation, raising confidence among ourselves and with the world is what ASEAN needs to grow as a region, said the ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan.

Mr. Pitsuwan was delivering the keynote speech at the 18th International Conference on the Future of Asia hosted by Nikkei Inc. in Tokyo, Japan from May 24-25, 2012.

He described the formation of ASEAN Plus Three (APT), a cooperative network between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the three East Asian nations of China, Japan, and South Korea, as a means to integrate the East Asian region.

“ASEAN Plus Three was born in 1997 when we realized we needed a new structure to guarantee our own economic stability and future. A more integrated East Asia is needed in the era of globalization,” Pitsuwan explained.

ASEAN needs the cooperation of its East Asian neighbors such as Japan to ensure its continued success, said Pitsuwan.

But the tragedy of the March 2011 Japan tsunami and earthquake has affected the confidence of the country as a whole, he said.

Pitsuwan said that he would like to see Japan’s confidence coming back and “healed from the trauma” of the episode. He also urged Japan to “deepen and reach out in order to bring new source of dynamism into Japan’s economy.”

“We can’t do it by ourselves. ASEAN can do it with the support of Japan and East Asia: capital, investment, technology, and management from the outside. We do not limit ourselves to the 10 to 600 million people in ASEAN countries,” he said, “East Asia is counting on Japan to take the lead.”

Pitsuwan also touched upon two ASEAN initiatives: the ASEAN Framework for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he hoped would “work to strengthen each other.”


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