Your Royal Highnesses,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government and people of the Kingdom of Thailand allow me to welcome all of you to the Bangkok Millenium Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC). I feel that it is a great honour for me to chair this august assembly as we reconvene for the first time in the new century.

The Post Ministerial Conferences have been a regular event in Southeast Asia for more than two decades and has become an integral part of the annual ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. The PMC process has provided Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member Countries and Foreign Ministers of ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners with the opportunity to meet every year in an atmosphere of friendship and exchange views on important issues and trends that affect the lives of our peoples, As a result, the PMC has played an important role in promoting better understanding across continents as well as in shaping our perceptions on regional and global issues.

Throughout the turn of the last century, ASEAN has made it a priority to develop a strong,and dynamic partnership with our Dialogue Partners. Through the PMC and Dialogue sessions, we have been able to cultivate a higher degxee of trust and confidence and a behavior of cooperation that has proved to be indispensable in addressing issues of mutual interest and concern. The PMC and Dialoguc sessions have enabled us to get better acquainted, to share our views and voice our concerns aid to develop new ideas and strategies for cooperation. They have served as a catalyst for many important initiatives, such as bridging the economic centres of the world through APEC and ASEM and branching out into the ARF as the only forum for security cooperation in Asia and the Pacific. We must therefore never lose sight of the significance and creative potential of the PMC and Dialogue sessions.

Now that we have entered the new century we should try to rejuvenate the role of the PMC and inject new life into the process. Up to now, we have already laid the foundations for developing cooperation on security and economic issues, so this is a good opportunity for all of us to turn our attention more to the human aspect of the equation.

Poverty, social and economic deprivation, transnational crime trafficking of women and children, drug trafficking, infectious diseases and the Digital Divide are problems that we have inherited from the past century. They have their roots in the development gap between the rich and the poor that continues to widen with globalization. Today, these issues are undermining human security and threatening the well-being of society in this and other regions of the world. They are issues that cannot be tackled single-handedly but require concerted efforts of everyone. ASEAN and our Dialogue Partners can, through the PMC and Dialogue sessions, play a key role in addressing these issues. So it is important that we adopt a Human Agenda for this and future meetings of the PMC and Dialogue session.

As part of this Human Agenda, we should also take up the developmental side of the issues that affect society. We should explore how we could work together in reducing the developmental and technological gap within and between nations. To this end, we could develop ideas for joint cooperation to enhance infrastructure and capacity building as well as human resources development in the region. Special consideration should also be given to supporting new ASEAN member countries as they integrate into the regional and international trading system.

I believe that if ASEAN and our Dialogue Partners can work together and produce concrete results in addressing both transnational and developmental issues, this will be a significant contribution to human security and progress of the region. It will make our valuable partnership more holistic and complete.

Your Royal Highnesses,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I now declare open the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences for the year 2000.