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Exciting times for Asean

Welcome to the debut issue of ASEANAFFAIRS, an independent voice of Asean, dedicated to bringing to you the decision makers unbiased but insightful information on the region in a timely manner. We are bringing the quarterly magazine out at a time when it is exciting times for Asean.

At forty, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, better known as Asean, is poised to play a greater role in the international community. With the new charter that will see the members play by the rules, and the new secretariat that is expanded to speed up the integration drive, we’re witnessing the rebirth of Asean as a brave new organization.

As Asean turns a new chapter, we are looking forward to
Surin Pitsuwan, who takes office on January 1, 2008, to
successfully lead the regional group towards its goal – to be
a fully integrated Asean in 2015. (see Cover story on page

As the incumbent secretary-general, Ong Keng Yong, told us,
Asean, assuming the proposed reforms are implemented,
will no longer be a toothless tiger as its critics would like to
call. The outgoing Asean chief also touched on the issues
regarding Asean’s ties with its dialogue partners, which
include Australia, the EU, US, India, China, New Zealand,
Russia, South Korea and Japan. (see page 24)

Looking at Asean’s relations with its long-time ally, the US,
there have arisen questions about whether it is still high on
the US foreign policy agenda. Note that it raised some observers eyebrows when President George W Bush called
off the Asean-US summit scheduled for September 5 in
Singapore. It could have been a venue to commemorate the
30th anniversary of dialogue between Asean and the US – a
symbolic gesture yet deemed important by Asean. Why can’t
Bush enjoy the warmth of the Asean meeting and a photo
call with colourful shirts?

It came just as China began to take the centre stage in the
region, and put the US-Asean relationship in a new perspective. Consider the security implication in the region and the economic impact the rise of Middle Kingdom will bring. But then China is an important trading partner with the US, which records a trade deficit with China of US$250 billion a year, compared to the US trade deficit with Asean of US$40 billion a year.

US trade with China has risen rapidly over the past 10 years.
Ten years ago, US trade (in goods) with Asean members
stood at $106 billion, compared with $63 billion with China.
By 2006, US’s two-way trade with China was $363 billion
while it was $162 billion with Asean. Blame it on the Asean
integration being on a slow boat while the members took to
seeking bilateral trade deals.

This should no longer be the case once Asean gets its act
together and follow through its stated goal to be a single
market of 560 million consumers.

ASEANAFFAIRS is the FIRST and One & Only
publication in the 40 years of Asean history, dedicated to
promoting the 10 Asean nations and their trade partner
countries to the world.

Published by T.I.M.E MEDIA. For more information
please visit our website

Publisher : S. Roy
Founder, CEO & Editor : S. Roy (EDITOR@ASEANAFFAIRS.COM)
Deputy Editor : Aye Ko Ko
General Manager : Supaporn Eamrod
Exec-Assistant to CEO : Warapond Kunanoratep
Consulting Editor : H.E. Shahed Akhtar
Former Ambassador & Secretary
Editorial Desk : Nan Bahadur,
Ong-on Sahachairungrueng
Consultant Designer : Hakan Wallenius
Design & Graphic : Yuthana Srisurakampol
Technical Officers : Parth, Soren Frank Munch
Marketing & Sales : A.Daniel, Saowanee Daoreung
Office assistant : Nongyao Udtachart

Television Partner: Dr Valerie McKenzie,
Morning Talk, Channel 11 TV, Thailand

We owe our deepest gratitude to
H.E. Ibrahim Yusuf, Ambassador of the Republic
of Indonesia to Thailand

H.E. Nguyen Duy Hung
Ambassador of The Socialist Republic of Vietnam to

H.E. Pengiran Dato Paduka Sharifuddun Yusof,
Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Kingdom of

Steve Buckley, Director of Trade & Investment,
British Embassy, Bangkok

ASEANAFFAIRS Representatives / Correspondents
Cambodia : Wilfried A.Hermann, Thomas Collein
India(north,south) : Asif Siddiqi, Viji Paul
Indonesia : Mikhail Tsyganov
Japan : Hajime Yamamoto
Malaysia : Kabur Ibrahim
Singapore : M Logan, Jack Nair
South Korea : Jun Na
USA : Peter Brigham
Vietnam : Le Phuong Lam

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Huaykwang, Bangkok 10320 Thailand
Tel.: (662) 9380156-7 Fax: (662) 9380249, 9380284
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Printed by:
Eastern Printing Public Company Limited Plc, Bangkok Thailand.

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