Foreign ministers from Asean’s ten member states have met for the 19th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AFMR), with a broad range of topics and views being tabled and canvassed by host nation Thailand.
Initiated under Singapore’s chairmanship in 1999, the retreats are said to provide a venue and opportunity for the free-flowing exchange of views on regional issues through face-to-face talks away from the public spotlight and the ears of aids.
In addition to the formal talks, the retreats also provide the opportunity for the host nation to share some of its customs, traditions and culture.
Before settling down to a working dinner, foreign ministers were yesterday (Jan 17) taken on a tour of Royal Park Rajapruek.
Built to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne and in celebration of his 80th birthday, the sprawling 80 hectares (about 198 acres) of landscaped gardens provided ample opportunity for the delegates to engage in informal, one-on-one talks.
From the photos supplied by the Asean-Thailand Secretariat, delegates were treated to a cultural dance performance and a selection of Thailand’s internationally renowned ‘street-food’, before settling down to a working dinner.
2019 Asean Foreign Ministers’ Retreat photo slide gallery Day 1
Photos Asean-Thailand Secretariat
- Asean foreign ministers retreat in Chiang Mai (video) (AEC News Today)
- Thailand to lead Asean with creativity, complementarities and continuity (video) (AEC News Today)
- The significance of Asean’s retreats (Bangkok Post)
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Prior to AEC News Today he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.