ENSURING A GLOBAL COMMUNITY
Human exchange way forward for EU, Asean future
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.”