Asean last 'Founding Father' dies

Asean last 'Founding Father' dies

From left, Philippine foreign secretary Narcio Ramos, Indonesian foreign minister Adam Malik, Thai foreign minister Thanat Khoman, Malaysian deputy premier Abdul Razak and Singapore foreign minister S Rajaratnam stand before their national flags at the Foreign Ministry on Aug 8, 1967. (Bangkok Post file photo)
From left, Philippine foreign secretary Narcio Ramos, Indonesian foreign minister Adam Malik, Thai foreign minister Thanat Khoman, Malaysian deputy premier Abdul Razak and Singapore foreign minister S Rajaratnam stand before their national flags at the Foreign Ministry on Aug 8, 1967. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Thanat Khoman, the last surviving "Founding Father" of Asean, has died at Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok at the age of 101.

He passed away at 3.49pm on Thursday, two months before his 102nd birthday, Sirilaksana Khoman, his daughter-in-law told the Bangkok Post.

The funeral rites will be held at his home on Phetchaburi Road in Bangkok's Ratchathewi district for seven days, starting Saturday, and then every Saturday over the next 100 days.

Thanat, who earned a doctorate in law in France, was foreign minister from 1959-71 during the Sarit Thanarat government.

His major contribution was in promoting regional reconciliation and cooperation in Southeast Asia.

In 1962, he signed a joint communiqué with US State Secretary Dean Rusk in which the US promised Thailand support and defence against potential Communist aggressors.

In the 1960s, Thanat played a key role in mediating between Indonesia and Malaysia. The choice of Bangkok as the founding place of Asean on Aug 8, 1967 was an expression of respect for his active role in its formation.

On that day, five leaders — the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — sat down together in the main hall of the Department of Foreign Affairs building in Bangkok and signed a document later known as the Asean Declaration.

The five ministers — Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso R Ramos of the Philippines, Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, S Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat — were hailed as the Founding Fathers of Asean.

Thanat was chairman of the Democrat Party from 1979-82 and deputy prime minister in the Prem Tinsulanonda government from 1980-82.

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