Postposed ASEAN summit to be held in Phuket in October


Chiang Mai, Thailand (eTN) – Thailand is planning to reconvene the ASEAN Summit, disrupted by protests at Pattaya on April 11, at the resort island of Phuket on October 23-25.

The government has decided on Phuket as the venue for two key meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the delayed summit, to prevent possible disruptions by more anti-government protests.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya informed other ASEAN foreign ministers on the sidelines of the ASEAN-EU meeting, which was recently held in Phnom Penh, about the choice of venue.

Phuket will host a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers from July 16 to 23, and the delayed ASEAN Summit with other dialogue partners from Oct. 23 to 25.

The ASEAN Summit was to be held in Pattaya on April 10-12, but proceedings were disrupted by a protest of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). Before that, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protests forced postponement last December, and ASEAN’s other dialogue partners said they were unable to make the event at Hua Hin later.

A source in the Thai delegation said that the Democrat-led government was more confident about the chances of the meetings going smoothly, if they were held in Phuket rather than in Bangkok, as the resort island is a Democrat Party stronghold.

As Phuket was chosen as the venue, local people could show the world they were able to host international meetings.

But, the Foreign Ministry is still concerned about logistical problems involved in holding the meetings on the island. The streets in Phuket are narrow, and the meeting rooms small, a source told the Bangkok Post.