News / Asia

E. Asia Summit to Focus on Trade

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan speaks during an interview in Nusa Dua in Indonesia's resort island of Bali (file photo)
ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan speaks during an interview in Nusa Dua in Indonesia's resort island of Bali (file photo)
Brian Padden

President Obama and many of the world leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit or APEC in Hawaii will travel later in the week to the East Asia Summit in Bali to continue talks on regional trade and security issues.

In an interview with VOA, Surin Pitsuwan, the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations said the group’s East Asia Summit will follow up on the trade issues being discussed at APEC and include other trade-related topics in the region.

“I think APEC will be dealing with trade, trade facilitation, trade liberalization. Here, there will be issues that enable trade to flourish. So it will be stability. It will be security. It will be strategic interests of each member states,” he said.

Of the 21 members of APEC and at least 18 countries expected at the East Asia Summit, 14 nations this year are sending representative to both gatherings.

Pitsuwan says the ASEAN-led summit will focus on making the region a nuclear free zone, easing tension on the Korean peninsula, and continuing progress made toward developing a code of conduct to facilitate disputes in the South China Sea.

And he says a prominent issue on the agenda will be how to improve regional and global assistance in the wake of multiple natural disasters, such as those that severely affected Asia in the last year.

“Climate agenda is important because it somehow is affecting the region, the floods in Thailand, the tsunami in Japan, tsunami and earthquakes in Indonesia, all these things, cyclones everywhere and flooding everywhere, all these things are going to be very high on the agenda,” Pitsuwan said.

The Secretary-General says ASEAN's support for Burma to chair the organization in 2014 has become less controversial following the country’s elections last year, the release of some political prisoners, and ongoing talks between the government and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Pitsuwan says because of those steps, he hopes western governments that imposed economic sanctions on Burma's military led government might announce some easing of sanctions at the East Asia summit.

“The international community as I can see, I can sense, is coming around to recognize some of the concrete steps that are being taken inside Myanmar," Pitsuwan said. "And I hope that there will be also a reciprocal gesture from the intentional community, from the big players, Japan, the U.S. the E.U. [who] are certainly watching with keen interests.”

While U.S. officials have welcomed the release of political prisoners and other pro-democratic moves, diplomats have also urged Burma’s leaders to deepen their commitment to political reforms if they want economic sanctions lifted.

Pitsuwan says as ASEAN continues to evolve into an integrated economic and political community, the East Asia Summit will grow in importance to world leaders that want to increase ties with some of the strongest economies in the world.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid