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Myanmar set to take over Asean chair in 2014
Publication Date : 10-10-2013
Myanmar is due to take over as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) today.
This will be the first time for Myanmar to assume a leadership role of the Asean regional bloc in 17 years of its membership with the association.
"Myanmar will be taking over as chair of Asean for the first time in 2014. It will be an event for the new Myanmar to showcase its wide ranging reforms and democratic values and practices it has chosen to embrace," said Yin Yin Myint, Myanmar's ambassador to Brunei, in an interview with the The Brunei Times.
Myanmar became an Asean member in 1997 and has had to wait the longest period in the association's history to serve as chair which alternates among the 10 Southeast Asian member states each year.
The Asean bloc of nations is a geo-political and economic organisation which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Myanmar had an opportunity to serve the Asean chair in 2006, but had to give up the chance as Asean feared possible protests from the United States and Europe who still had economic and political sanctions against the military government.
Only when Myanmar began a series political and economic reforms in 2011 did Asean leaders decide to allow Myanmar a chance to chair the association in 2014.
"Myanmar is a nation of 60 million and we are in no shortage of political will or human resources to handle the responsibilities that will come along with Asean Chairmanship," added Yin Yin Myint.
The 23rd Asean Summit is being held in Brunei along with eight related meetings to take place October 9 and 10 to be hosted at International Convention Centre in Bandar Seri Begawan.