President-Elect of East Timor to Seek ASEAN Membership

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East Timor's president-elect Jose Ramos-Horta
East Timor's president-elect Jose Ramos-Horta.

The president-elect of East Timor (Timor-Leste), Jose Ramos-Horta, has said that he expects that his country will join the Association of Southeast Nations in 2023, when ASEAN will be chaired by Indonesia.

Joining the bloc when Indonesia is the chair of ASEAN is, according to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ramos-Horta, “highly symbolic,” a reference to the fact that East Timor was controlled by Indonesia until 1999.

Ramos-Horta will be serving as president for the second time when he begins his term in May on the anniversary of East Timor’s independence. He made a name for himself fighting for independence from foreign rule and plans to focus on jobs, health services, poverty alleviation, and stability in his upcoming term.

A high-level delegation from Timor-Leste (East Timor) visited Laos in June 2019, with then-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr. Dionisio da Costa Babo Soares, meeting with Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith.

The two countries established diplomatic relations on July 29, 2002.