ASEAN – BANGKOK: Former Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan died of acute heart attack. He was 68.

Former foreign minister and Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan died of acute heart attack. He was 68.

Surin collapsed while preparing to speak at the Thailand Halal Assembly 2017 at Bitec in Bang Na.

  • Related story: Late Surin Pitsuwan praised for achievements

He was rushed to Ramkhamhaeng Hospital and later pronounced dead at 3.07pm.

Surin was born on Oct 28, 1949 in Muang district, Nakhon Si Thammarat. He graduated from Claremont College in California in political science in 1972 and earned a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from Harvard University.

He entered politics in 1986 as a Democrat Party candidate and won a seat in his hometown in Nakhon Si Thammarat in all contests from 1986 to 2005.

Surin was the deputy foreign minister from 1992-95 and rose to become the foreign minister from 1997 to 2001 under the premiership of Chuan Leekpai. He was the first Thai to become the Asean secretary-general during which he served in Jakarta in 2008 for a five-year term before rejoining the Democrat party.

A former Bangkok Post columnist, Surin was a speaker at the Bangkok Post Forum on Nov 16 this year. He was expected to run for Bangkok governor when elections are allowed.

People can pay their last respects at his house on Soi Pitsuwan, tambon Sai Ma, Muang district, Nonthaburi province, from Thursday to Friday at noon.The religious ceremony is held all night.


POLITICS:  Late Surin Pitsuwan praised for achievements


Surin Pitsuwan raises the Asean charter during his speech on the 50th year of the organisation at the Bangkok Post Forum on Nov 16, 2017. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)


The country and Southeast Asia are in shock by the sudden death of former foreign minister and Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called his death a great loss not only for the party but also for the nation and the world.
Surin never changed his political banner since his first poll contest for the party in Muang district, Nakhon Si Thammarat province, in 1986. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said his death was a great loss for the country.

The Foreign Ministry commended him for his key role in conducting the foreign policy when he was the minister from 1997 to 2001.

“Dr Surin played a key role in the conduct of Thailand’s foreign policy. He contributed greatly to the advancement and interest of Asean, as well as the promotion of Asean on the international stage,”… the ministry said.

The Asean Secretariat called his death “a big loss to Thailand and the Asean community”.
He took a break from politics to become the Asean secretary-general from 2008-12 before returning to the party.

Surin was chairman of the Future Innovation Thailand Institute, a think tank set up by the Democrat to design the future of the country.

Mr Abhisit has said the organisation worked independently and was not guided by his party. Surin suddenly collapsed and died of acute heart failure on Thursday.

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Bangkok Post |  WRITER: ONLINE REPORTERS | 30 Nov 2017 at 15:51

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