Le Luong Minh assumes ASEAN Secretary General
VietNamNet Bridge – The ASEAN Secretariat, in the message from Jakarta, said that the inauguration of the new Secretary General of ASEAN--Le Luong Minh, took place on the morning of January 9, at the headquarters of the ASEAN Secretariat.

Vietnam, Le Luong Minh, ASEAN
From the left: Mr. Le Luong Minh, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Minh's predecessor, Thai diplomat Surin Pitsuwan.

The inauguration last for 1 hour, attended with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa. After a speech ending his tenure of Mr. Surin Pitsuwan was a brief inaugural address of Mr. Le Luong Minh.

Three days before the official inauguration, Minh went to Jakarta to get the office, the personnel working at the ASEAN Secretariat, with nearly 300 people.

Since he was appointed by ASEAN senior officials last November, Minh made many trips to member countries for courtesy and consultation on the issues of concern.

According to the principles of the ASEAN, the Secretary General position is nominated alternately between the 10 member countries. The term of this position lasts for five years. After Thailand, it is Vietnam’s turn to nominate its representative to this position and Vietnam decided to nominate Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh. After being approved by the senior leaders of ASEAN, Minh officially receives the new task from January 1 2013.

Minh was born in 1952. He was appointed as Deputy Foreign Minister in December 2008.

Since February 17, 2004, he has been Vietnam's ambassador to the UN in New York City. He held this office from 1995 to 1997 for the UN institutions in Geneva and as a deputy in New York City from 1997 to 1999. He was the President of the United Nations Security Council in July 2008 and October 2009.

I was sight struck by a feeling of togetherness ...

Vietnam, Le Luong Minh, ASEAN
Mr. Le Luong Minh.

In the inaugural speech delivered on the morning of January 9 in Jakarta, the new Secretary General of ASEAN--Le Luong Minh, said that ASEAN needs to speed up negotiations with China to soon reach the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

"When I first walked into the ASEAN Secretariat building last September during my informal visit, I was at first sight struck by a feeling of togetherness,” Mr Minh said in his first speech as the new Secretary-General of ASEAN.

"I saw in the lobby not only the flags of the ten ASEAN Member States, but also those of ASEAN’s partners. It is this feeling of togetherness that has made ASEAN a proud and strong organization - strong in itself and in its will for cooperation."

"It is the same feeling of togetherness I am experiencing here today and I thank you all for honoring this handover ceremony with your valuable presence," he said.

Synchronized actions

The new Secretary General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh re-emphasized the tasks that ASEAN has consistently pursued over the past 46 years: to unite the countries in the region, make efforts for peace, economic development, cooperation and integration.

"Despite the many challenges, I fully believe that ASEAN will emerge triumphant. The ASEAN Secretariat will continue to play active roles in supporting and coordinating with Member States to help facilitate and drive the establishment of the ASEAN Community."

"There is room to improve policy implementation across the political-security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars, streamline the performance of our institutions, further prioritise issues with a view to improving national and regional coordination. The work of the Secretariat will be geared in this direction,” he further added.

In association with this problem, before the complex developments in the East Sea, in conjunction with the promotion of compliance with the guidance for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), ASEAN’s six-point principle on the East Sea and the ASEAN - China Joint Declaration on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of DOC, ASEAN also needs to speed up negotiations with China to soon reach the Code of Conduct in the East Sea, he said.

In the economic pillar, the new Secretary General of ASEAN emphasized the mission of maximizing the common and minimizing the difference to increase the value for each member state, in the context of the goal of building the ASEAN economic community in 2015 having only three years to make.

In the socio-cultural pillar, he stressed education as one of the best ways to reduce poverty and narrow the development gap between member states.

The new Secretary-General of ASEAN also made the words of appreciation to his predecessor, Thai diplomat Surin Pitsuwan, the first leader of the ASEAN Secretariat after the ASEAN Charter was issued.

Chung Hoang
Vietnam, Le Luong Minh, ASEAN