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ASEAN Envoys Marks Its 40th Birthday in Seoul
Malaysian Ambassador to Seoul Dato' M. Santhananaban poses with other envoys at the reception held in a Seoul hotel on Aug. 27, 2007 in celebration of ASEAN's 40th anniversary. At far right is Director Abdul Mutalib Awang of MTPB (Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board) Korea. Mr. Awang also serves as chariman of the Association of National Tourist Office in Korea (ANTOR Korea).

Envoys from the Southeast Asian countries celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 10-member ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in a reception held at Millennium Hilton Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 27, 2007.

The dinner reception, hosted by the ASEAN committee of South Korea, drew a number of high-profile people including scores of foreign ambassadors serving in Seoul, and local guests. Among the top guests was the former President Kim Dae-Jung, who is also Novel peace prizewinner.

In a congratulatory speech ex-President Kim expressed his hope that ASEAN nations will be economically more competitive and socially cohesive.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

President Kim also mentioned the 23 Korean hostages in Afghanistan. Kim expressed his deep sympathies to the families of the two hostages killed by the Taliban.

President Kim also delivered a keynote speech at the seminar held under the title of "ASEAN-ROK in the Heart of Dynamic Asia" at Hilton earlier in the day in celebration of the ASEAN's 40th anniversary.

During the seminar, he asked for the wider cooperation among ASEAN countries for maintaining peace and stability in the Asian region.

President Kim was invited to the ASEAN seminar and reception by the Malaysian Ambassador to Seoul Dato' M. Santhananaban.

Cooperation between ASEAN and South Korea has been on the steady and sharp rise since Seoul government opened ties with ASEAN in 1967.

Bilateral trade volume rose to 61.8 billion US dollars. ASEAN is major market with its 500 million combined population. ASEAAN is now South Korea's fifth largest trade and third largest investment partner.

Initially ASEAN came into being in 1967 with only five members: Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. It now has 10 members.

It was ex-President Kim who helped South Korea become a member of ASEAN+3. In early 2000, then-President Kim worked his way to make Seoul to become a member of ASEAN+3 along with China, and Japan.






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