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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs