ASEAN Reconsidering?

Thailand’s ETNA News and The Nation are reporting that the ASEAN endorsement for Surakiart’s UNSG candidacy is a key issue on the agenda for the organization’s retreat in Bali, Indonesia this week.

Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon will seek reassurance of ASEAN support for the Thai candidate vying for the UN Secretary-General post. Thai Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kitti Wasinondh said the issue is high on the agenda…

This is not unexpected, of course, given Thailand’s domestic political upheaval, but it may also be reflective of Surakiart’s struggling campaign outside the region. The government is hopeful that the ASEAN endorsement is reaffirmed. But the scheduled discussion may signal interest in reconsidering the endorsement. If so, it may be presented as a willingness to allow Surakiart to re-focus his energies on domestic partisan concerns, and consequently, as flexibility for ASEAN governments to consider other candidates. South Korea’s recent overtures to Indonesia on nuclear power may be one such interest.

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