IN Diplomacy, a publication and online portal by Sun Media spoke with Mr. Ong Keng Yong, a distinguished Singaporean diplomat and Special Ambassador at Large.

In this exclusive interview on 12 June 2024, Mr. Ong Keng Yong, a distinguished Singaporean diplomat and Special Ambassador at Large, shares his insights on the current state of ASEAN and its future prospects. With over 25 years of experience in international relations, Ambassador Ong offers a unique perspective on the region’s economic, political, and commercial landscape.

Q: What is the current state of ASEAN, and what are the major challenges and opportunities facing the region?

A: ASEAN is a thriving region with vibrant economic, political, and commercial activity. While we face some challenges, they are manageable. Our strategic location between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, combined with the presence of populous countries like China and India, makes us an attractive hub for trade and investment.

Q: How can other nations collaborate with ASEAN to achieve better prospects?

A: There are opportunities, and it’s important to bring them together to examine prospects and challenges. ASEAN is an open and accessible region, and if you have the necessary experience and stamina, you’ll find good prospects. The growing middle class, geographical advantage, and democratic values make Southeast Asia an attractive destination for business and investment.

Q: What sets ASEAN apart from other regions, and what is the key to its success?

A: ASEAN’s peace and openness, combined with its ability to acquire new technology and focus on education and growth, set it apart. Leadership and a belief in a better future through education and openness are crucial to the region’s prosperity.