BANGKOK, 29 March 2012 – The ASEAN Secretary-General has urged all member countries to respect cultural diversity within the Southeast Asian region.
ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said that the upcoming formation of the ASEAN Community has prompted the majority of ASEAN population to focus on issues relating to the economy and politics rather than culture. He explained that the true meaning of ASEAN, however, lies beyond those concepts.
In order for the 600 million people in 10 countries to live equally in a caring and sharing society, all relevant sides must have tolerance. They must accept the differences in ideas, languages and culture of each member country as well as learn to manage those differences efficiently, given that the key objective of the ASEAN Community is to avoid conflict among members, who are engaged in a relationship based on mutual respect.