Speaking Of Asia

Asia can help protect the multilateral order

Chats with two Asian champions of multilateralism - Ban Ki-moon and Supachai Panitchpakdi - show they are less anxious about US-China tensions than the global retreat from the world order

SEOUL/HO CHI MINH CITY • Over the past 10 days I had the opportunity to spend considerable time with two Asians of wisdom and experience who once helped to run the world as we know it.

At Yonsei University in Seoul, I spent a morning with Mr Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations for a decade from January 2007. In Ho Chi Minh City, on the sidelines of the Horasis Asia conference, I buttonholed Mr Supachai Panitchpakdi, who was director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) from September 2002 to September 2005 and then moved to lead the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) for eight years.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2018, with the headline 'Asia can help protect the multilateral order'. Print Edition | Subscribe