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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs