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Australia, China, Japan plan to appoint envoys to ASEAN.

SINGAPORE, July 23 Kyodo

At least three dialogue partners of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations expressed their plans Wednesday to appoint ambassadors for the grouping, the ASEAN chief said.

''The best news symbolizing all of the good cooperation between China and ASEAN is the fact that Mr. Yang (Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi) has announced that China would be appointing the Chinese ambassador to ASEAN soon,'' ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told reporters after the morning session of bilateral meetings between ASEAN and its dialogue partners.

''Australia just informed me also that they are thinking very, very actively about promoting further cooperation between Australia and ASEAN also by appointing an ambassador to ASEAN,'' he added.

In a related development, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura also told his ASEAN counterparts at the Japan-ASEAN talks that Japan will appoint an ambassador to ASEAN once the ASEAN Charter takes effect and that preparations for the appointment are underway, according to a Japanese Foreign Ministry official.

The ASEAN Charter, which will turn ASEAN into a rules-based organization, was adopted by member states in November last year. The landmark charter pledges the commitment of ASEAN to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of people in the region.

It is expected to take effect when all of its members ratify it by the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok in December.

Under the Charter, major countries that become dialogue partners are encouraged to appoint ambassadors to ASEAN to work with the secretary general and the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN in Jakarta.

The United States was the first ASEAN dialogue partner to appoint an ambassador to ASEAN.

Surin said the decisions made by dialogue partners to appoint ambassadors to ASEAN show recognition of the importance of the relationship between those countries and ASEAN.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Jul 28, 2008
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