Hu­man ex­change way for­ward for EU, Asean fu­ture

New Straits Times - - News - LAILI IS­MAIL AND AINA NASA KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

HU­MAN ex­change can be the ba­sis for the Euro­pean Union (EU) and Asean to shape a global com­mu­nity fu­ture to­gether.

For­mer Thai for­eign min­is­ter Dr Surin Pit­suwan said the ex­change of schol­ars and stu­dents, as well as the trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy were im­por­tant to fa­mil­iarise the two re­gions with each other.

“Re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tions, such as the EU and Asean, must work to­gether to en­sure that the road into the fu­ture in­volves mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism.

“It has to also in­volve col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing, where no­body is go­ing to get 100 per cent, but only some parts of the agree­ment.

“I would like to see the EU make its case more force­fully through hu­man re­source devel­op­ment and the trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy to be­come a pos­i­tive force in the growth of this re­gion,” Surin said at the Asia-Europe Con­fer­ence 2017 yes­ter­day.

He said Asean’s cen­tral­ity could lead in the con­ver­sa­tion mov­ing for­ward.

“Asean’s cen­tral­ity was con­ceived to re­spond to the geopo­lit­i­cal re­al­i­ties of the re­gion.

“It seeks to have the con­ven­ing power to make peo­ple feel se­cure, open and can­did with each other.

“This cen­tral­ity is a com­mod­ity that has been in­vented and re­in­forced by Asean through po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity, con­ti­nu­ity and as­sur­ance of pro­tected in­vest­ments.”

Surin, who is also for­mer Asean sec­re­tary-gen­eral, said Asean must have the con­fi­dence, ma­tu­rity and abil­ity to solve its own re­gional prob­lems.

“In the next 50 years, we must be able to take on more chal­lenges, in­clud­ing ten­sions in the Korean penin­sula, the safety of the Straits of Malacca and pos­si­ble re­li­gious di­vi­sive­ness in South­east Asia.

“We have to also man­age ties with China on the South China Sea dis­putes. We can­not con­tinue re­spond­ing in dif­fer­ent ways and ex­pect the re­gion to have that cen­tral­ity role.”

Surin Pit­suwan

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