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Statesman who raised ASEAN's international profile

Former Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan sought reform and cohesion

Surin Pitsuwan, then secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, speaks during a lecture in Kuala Lumpur in 2012.   © Reuters

Southeast Asia is a hard region for anyone to straddle. There is no common language, sovereignty is strongly asserted, and there are plenty of deeply-felt enmities. If there was one man in recent history who managed to overcome some of these obstacles and project the region's vitality and importance it was Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand, who died of a heart attack on Nov. 30 at the age of 68.

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