Tue, 09 Aug 1994

ASEAN presents new flag of peace

JAKARTA (JP): The new flag of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was hoisted for the first time yesterday at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta during an official ceremony marking the organization's 27th anniversary.

The flag consisted of the ASEAN symbol, six turret-like shapes symbolizing the ASEAN member countries, but minus the inscriptions, standing in bold yellow against a sky-blue background.

"The flag symbolizes cohesion and the ASEAN identity. It is also a symbol of ASEAN strength and cooperation," Secretary General Dato' Ajit Singh told reporters following the ceremony.

The ceremony was attended by the ambassadors of Brunei, the Philippines and Singapore, the Director General of ASEAN in Indonesia and the Charges d'Affairs of Malaysia and Thailand, as well as diplomatic staffers of the embassies of ASEAN countries and their families.

Approved by the 27th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok last month, Dato' Ajit explained that the flag's blue background was chosen because it symbolizes peace.

Other organizations which adopted this color for the same reason include the United Nations and the European Union, he pointed out.

The flag was raised yesterday together with those of the ASEAN member countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei.

The ceremony was disrupted slightly when the flag of Brunei was inadvertently hoisted upside-down. Military cadets, however, quickly pulled down the flag and righted it before raising it again.

Dato' Ajit acknowledged that over the years ASEAN has grown strong enough politically to withstand pressure from other world organizations.

He expressed doubt that other organizations seek to minimize the political role of ASEAN, since it is in the interest of the world community that ASEAN play a stronger role in regional politics, security and economic cooperation .

"A stable ASEAN means a stable region in Southeast Asia, and stability in the region is basically built for everybody," he said. (pwn)