MANILA -- Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, a top trade official and diplomat from Brunei Darussalam, has assumed office as the new Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday.

Lim is the 14th ASEAN Secretary-General succeeding Secretary-General Le Luong Minh from Vietnam who completed his five-year term on Dec. 31, 2018.

The Brunei diplomat's appointment was approved at the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings held in Manila last November 2017.

Lim until recently was a Permanent Secretary at the Brunei Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry.

Among the principal duties he assumed was Brunei’s Chief Negotiator on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks.

His earlier positions also included heading the Trade Departments at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, respectively.

The Secretary-General of ASEAN is appointed by the ASEAN Leaders for a non-renewable term of five years, selected from nationals of the ASEAN Member States based on alphabetical rotation.

The last ASEAN Secretary-General from the Philippines was Rodolfo Severino Jr., who assumed the role from January 2003 to December 2007. The next Filipino diplomat to serve as ASEAN Secretary-General would be in 2033. (PNA)