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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    9 August  2012

Vietnamese deputy foreign minister is next Asean Sec Gen

Jakarta, Indonesia

Under the leadership of Surin Pitsuwan, the ship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) sailed, albeit with some difficulties, through troubled waters over the last several years.

Pitsuwan, the former foreign minister of Thailand, was considered the right person to fill the association's hot seat. However, in less than five months, Pitsuwan must relinquish his job, leaving the gargantuan task of building the Asean Community by 2015 to a successor.

Barring any unexpected developments, Vietnam's deputy foreign minister Le Luong Minh, will become the association's next secretary-general.

Officially, Vietnam has not yet named Minh, a career diplomat, as its candidate for Asean's top post, which is held on a rotating basis.

"The post of Asean secretary-general is being rotated alphabetically every five years among its 10-member countries. It is now Vietnam's turn to take the secretary-general post from Thailand," Vietnam's Permanent Representative to Asean, Ambassador Vu Dang Dung, told The Jakarta Post recently in Jakarta.

However, no other candidates have been said to be in the running for the job.

Minh is an alumni of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He joined the foreign service in 1975, just after the reunification of Vietnam.

The extensive experience that Minh has accumulated representing Vietnam at the United Nations will be a boon at the helm of the regional association.

Minh has served as Vietnam's deputy foreign minister since December 2008. If selected, Minh will assume his new post on Jan. 1, 2013.

The 10 members of the Asean are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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