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Jakarta Post

ASEAN Charter ushers in historic new era for region

  • Tony Hotland

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 16 2008   /  07:23 am

The much-awaited ASEAN Charter entered into force on Monday, propelling the 41-year-old regional bloc into a new era in which new law-empowered bodies will seek to integrate the member countries and uphold democracy.
The signing was officiated in Jakarta during a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers a month after Thailand became the last member to ratify the charter.
“Regional cooperation and economic integration to build the ASEAN Community will actually shift into higher gear after the ASEAN Charter enters into force today,” ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said.
The historic document, signed by ASEAN leaders last year, stipulates rules for its members and unites the geographical bloc of 10 countries and half a billion people into a legalized body that can threaten its members with sanctions.
The charter seeks to integrate the regio...