Thailand takes over ASEAN chairmanship from Singapore
SINGAPORE – Thailand took over the chairmanship of ASEAN from Singapore this afternoon at the end of the two-day ASEAN summit on this nation island.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha received the symbolic gavel from his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong in a ceremony. But the chairmanship will formally begin on January 1 next year.
Speaking afterwards, Gen Prayut said as the new chairman Thailand’s key priorities include boosting connectivity in infrastructure, rules and regulations and people-to-people links so as to become a seamless ASEAN.
Another focus is on sustainable development in security and economic growth, he said.
Prayut also called on all ASEAN member countries to “collaborate even more closely”, on the foundation of unity and the principles of mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual benefit
After the handover, the Thai prime minister thanked and congratulated his Singapore counterpart on “efficiently driving forward a resilient and innovative ASEAN community” and promised that Thailand will continue the good work, according to the Straits Times.
Thailand last held the post in 2008 after taking over from Singapore.
Gen Prayut also unveiled the theme of its chairmanship – Advancing Partnership for Sustainability – at the closing ceremony of the 33rd Asean Summit at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
He said ASEAN’s role “is recognised internationally and it’s at the centre of the regional architecture. However, ASEAN is also facing a number of challenges such as trade and political competition, disruptive technologies, transnational crime, inequities and transformation in the region’s social structure.”