Manila — Lim Hock Joi, a seasoned diplomat of Brunei Darussalam will be helming the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, following last night’s announcement by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Lee confirmed Lim’s appointment as the next ASEAN secretary- general on Tuesday (14/11) evening during a speech to mark the start of Singapore’s chairmanship of the 10-nation bloc in 2018. Lim, a permanent secretary at the Brunei Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, will take on his new role in January to replace current ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh of Vietnam. Minh will conclude his five-year term at the end of this year. Lee expressed his gratitude to the outgoing ASEAN Secretary-General in Tuesday’s closing ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit, held at the Philippine Convention Center in Manila. He said that Singapore, which takes over as ASEAN chair from the current host the Philippines, looked forward to working closely with Lim and the ASEAN Secretariat to strengthen community-building efforts. Lim entered the Brunei government in 197, having served in foreign affairs and trade roles. Most recently, he was Brunei’s chief negotiator in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks until its conclusion in 2015. In running the Secretariat, Lim will be responsible for overseeing a staff of about 300, and managing more than 1,000 ASEAN meetings each year. The ASEAN secretary general is appointed by the ASEAN Summit for a non-renewable term for five years, selected among ASEAN member states based on an alphabetical order.