Security Issues Top ASEAN Agenda as Diplomats Arrive in Bali

Posted July 18th, 2011 at 3:50 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Southeast Asian diplomats have begun arriving in Indonesia for a regional conference that is expected to dwell on security issues, including disputes in the South China Sea.

Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations open their annual meeting in Bali Tuesday, and then invite China, Japan and South Korea to join them Thursday for the ASEAN Plus Three dialogue. Beginning Saturday, the gathering expands to 27 countries, including the United States and Russia, for the ASEAN Regional Forum.

The ASEAN countries are expected to press China for progress on a binding code of conduct that would spell out procedures for setting disputes over resources in the South China Sea, where several countries have overlapping claims. Reports say the final communique will also address a land dispute between Thailand and Cambodia that sparked days of armed clashes this year.

North Korea’s nuclear program is expected to be discussed at the ASEAN Regional Forum, which will be attended by North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chin. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will also be there.

The Jakarta Post says a draft copy of the ASEAN final communique includes unprecedented statements on closer security and military cooperation among the member nations. The document says the countries aim to improve their capacity for conflict management and post-conflict peace building in order to enhance regional security.