Accessibility links

Breaking News

Philippines Says Asian Summits Will Be Held Despite Threats

Philippine officials are confident that two Asian summits that were abruptly postponed last month will go ahead safely and successfully starting this week. They say neither rain nor threats of terrorism will stop the meetings. VOA's Heda Bayron reports from Cebu.

Summit organizing committee chairman Marciano Paynor says final preparations have been completed for the annual summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and East Asian leaders. The meetings were postponed at the last minute in December because of an approaching typhoon.

"The postponement gave us a one-month respite where we were able to fine-tune a lot of things," Paynor says. "We were ready then ... We are even more ready now. I think there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that we would be able to host this summit successfully."

The summits bring together leaders of the 10 member countries of ASEAN, who will be joined by their counterparts from China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Final security drills were held at the Cebu International Convention Center. Officials say additional troops have been deployed in the city.

Australia, Britain and Canada have retained the travel warnings they issued last month, suggesting that their citizens not visit the region.

But Paynor says there is no indication of any major security threat.

"I reiterate there are no specific threats that they have received or that have been given to us by other intelligence agencies or security agencies," Paynor says.

Dark clouds cover Cebu and the weather bureau predicts a wet week ahead, but no typhoon is approaching the city this time.

Senior officials from ASEAN member nations start meeting Wednesday. The ASEAN leaders will meet on Sunday, and the East Asia Summit, including ASEAN leaders and the other participants, opens Monday.