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Your Excellency Mr Samak Sundaravej, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, Chair of ASEAN

,
Your Excellency Deputy Prime Minister,
Your Excellencies Ministers,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me a great pleasure to welcome all of you to the 2008 ASEAN Lecture – held here for the first
time in Bangkok. The occasion is both timely and significant as Thailand has just taken over the
Chairmanship of ASEAN in July 2008 from Singapore.
This year marks the sixth year that we hold the ASEAN Lecture series. When the idea of the ASEAN
Lecture was mooted back in 2003, the intention was to invite an eminent person from the ASEAN
Member States to deliver a lecture on ASEAN on the day ASEAN was born – 8 August. This would
serve as a key platform to bring wider attention to strategic issues of vital importance to ASEAN as an
organisation.
Mr Prime Minister, you will add to the list of eminent speakers who had delivered the ASEAN Lecture
in the previous five years. The first was Her Excellency Megawati Soekarnoputri back in 2003, then the
President of the Republic of Indonesia. The next year in 2004, it was the Prime Minister of Viet Nam,
His Excellency Phan Van Khai in Hanoi. In 2005, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the
Republic of Indonesia delivered the lecture. This was followed by His Excellency Dato’ Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia in 2006. Last year, under the Chairmanship of Singapore,
His Excellency Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, kindly delivered the ASEAN
Lecture.
The world is watching ASEAN very, very intensely. They are watching the way which we are
establishing our community. They are waiting to see if the ASEAN Charter will be ratified by all ten
Member States so that we can celebrate the full ratification of the Charter at the 14th ASEAN Summit
here in Bangkok under the Chairmanship of Thailand in the middle of December this year.
I have full confidence, Mr Prime Minister, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, that the three
remaining members of ASEAN, including Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, will ratify this sacred
document in time for full implementation by the time all Leaders assemble here in the city of Bangkok
in December.
Mr Prime Minister, Distinguished Guests, under the leadership of Thailand, we are very much
confident that ASEAN will become more people-oriented. At the Opening Ceremony of the First
Meeting of the 42nd ASEAN Standing Committee, ASEAN colleagues were informed that Thailand
will focus on 3Rs under her leadership of ASEAN. The first “R” is to realise the purposes and visions
of the Charter. The second “R” is to revitalise ASEAN as a people-centred community. The third “R” is
to reinforce ASEAN cooperation to better contribute to the quality of life of our 570 million people. I
would like to add one more “R” this afternoon, that is, to reaffirm the spirit of our founding fathers 41
years ago here in this city when they signed the Bangkok Declaration (or ASEAN Declaration) on 8
August 1967. The spirit they espoused that day was the spirit of hope, optimism and a sense of shared
humanity, among them and among us all.
Mr Prime Minister, thank you very, very much on behalf of ASEAN for your kind agreement to deliver
the ASEAN Lecture for the year 2008.
Thank you very, very much.