KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 (Bernama) – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad today launched a pictorial book “Asean: One Region One Vision” produced by the national news agency, Bemama, to commemorate the grouping’s 30th anniversary.

The historic occasion at the Palace of Golden Horses Hotel was witnessed by the leaders of the eight other Asean member countries – Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos – who are gathered here for their two-day second informal summit.

The launch took place after the nine Foreign Ministers signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the setting up of the ASEAN Foundation and the Economic Ministers inked the Protocol to Implernent the Initial Package of Commitments under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services.

Dr Mahathir, accompanied by Bernama Chairman Prof. Datuk Abu Bakar Hamid unveiled and signed on the mock-up of the book.

The Malaysian prime minister and all the other ASEAN heads of government and ministers were presented a copy of the book of some 200 pages and 300 pictures that attempt to look at ASEAN as a single region and as they are today.

Organised into four chapter’s, the book presents the 30-year old Organisation from its historic perspective, its landscape, its developments and progress, its peoples, cultures and ways of life.

The book contains a candid interview with former Thai Foreign Minister Tun Dr Thanat Khoman, one of the signatories of the Bangkok Declaration of August 1967 that established ASEAN.

The Thai elder stateman recounted how ASEAN was actually set up, his perception and hopes for the Organisation. The book also contains interviews with some of the ASEAN leaders including Dr. Mahathir, President Fidel Ramos of the Philippines and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore on their assessment on the strength and weaknesses of ASEAN, and the future direction of the Organisation.

Compiled by Bcmama photo chief Rosli Hunnin and edited by Features and Foreign News Editor Kuah Guan Oo, the pictorial book is printed in limited copies, the book will be supplied to libraries, government departments, the ASEAN Secretariat and selected bookstores as a collector’s item.

The Prime Mnister, in his message in the book, congratulated Bernama for its contribution to the 30th anniversary celebration of ASEAN.