Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Thailand to fulfill 5 targets as ASEAN chairmanship

PHUKET, Thailand, July 21 (Xinhua) -- As the 2009 chairmanship of the ASEAN, Thailand aims to complete five concrete steps to make the regional grouping move toward the goal of a full ASEAN community in 2015, official from the Thai Foreign Ministry said here on Tuesday.

Director-General of the ASEAN Affairs Department of the ministry Vitavas Srivihok was speaking during his participation in the 42nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences and 16th ASEAN Regional Forum, which have been organized in a southern province of Phuket on July 17-23.

Vitavas said the first agenda is the implementation of the regional reserve pool, known as Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), as Thailand aims to implement this step at the ASEAN Summit to be held on Oct. 23-25 in Thailand, he said.

In early May, finance ministers of the ASEAN Plus Three nations, China, Japan and Republic of Korea, reached the agreement on all main components of regional reserve pool.

The agreement on the CMIM includes the individual country's contribution, borrowing accessibility, and the surveillance mechanism.

The total size of the CMIM is 120 billion U.S. dollars with the contribution portion between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries at20 percent versus 80 percent.

China and Japan will each contribute 38.4 billion U.S. dollars to the pool, while South Korea will contribute 19.2 billion dollars.

Secondly, Thailand, as agreed by the other ASEAN member countries to be the hub of the antiviral vaccine production, will speed up the vaccine production, he said.

"This is the immediate issue, which is agreed on Tuesday by the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting that the ASEAN countries will have a joint procurement of medicine," said Vitavas.

Thailand, which is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO), will produce enough vaccine with an affordable price for the ASEAN countries, he said.

However, a price of the antiviral vaccine for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, or the CLMV countries, could be lowered than that to be sold to other ASEAN member countries, he said.

Thirdly, it is concerned with the food security as another top agenda among the ASEAN Plus Three countries, he said.

Thailand plans to complete transforming a temporary office of the emergency rice stockpile center into the permanent emergency rice stockpile center in Thailand at the ASEAN Summit in October, he said.

By now China and Japan have pledged that they will contribute their rice to this center, while South Korea is also expected to follow China and Japan's step, he said.

The fourth and fifth concrete steps are concerned with the ASEAN-community building process, including of the ASEAN Human Rights Body and the ASEAN legal personality, he said.

The ASEAN foreign ministers adopted Monday the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the ASEAN human rights body, naming it the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.

The adoption of the final draft of the Terms of Reference of an ASEAN Human Rights Body (AHRB) will pave the way for the inauguration of the body at the 15th ASEAN Summit in October.

Lastly, on Monday the foreign ministers also approved the legal personality of ASEAN and approved a draft agreement on privileges and immunity of ASEAN.

The foreign ministers agreed to extend the mandate of High Level Legal Experts' Group on Follow-up to the ASEAN Charter (HLEG)to finalize dispute settlement mechanisms and other legal issues under the ASEAN Charter for the consideration at the 15th ASEAN Summit in October.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

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