Bangkok : The Thai cabinet has endorsed former foreign minister Surin Pitsuwan as the country's choice to become the next secretary general of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year, media reports said Wednesday.
The cabinet will propose Surin's candidacy at the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting on July 29 to August 2 in Manila, and a formal endorsement of the appointment is expected at the ASEAN summit in November in Singapore, said the Bangkok Post.
If all goes according to plan Surin, a senior member of the Democrat party, will replace Ong Keng Yong of Singapore as ASEAN's next secretary general on January 1, 2008.
The post revolves among the 10-members of ASEAN alphabetically. The four-decades old regional association comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
"ASEAN needs to readjust to face the challenges of the future," Surin told The Nation newspaper after the cabinet endorsement.
Surin was foreign minister from 1997 to 2001, when the Democrat party led Thailand.
Suphachai Panichpakdi, the former World Trade Organization (WTO) chief who currently heads UNCTAD, was also a Democrat.