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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid