U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, at preparatory talks for the APEC summit of Pacific Rim nations, has urged the 21-member grouping to play a greater role in the fight against terrorism.

Founded in 1989, APEC has largely been devoted to promoting trade and economic growth in the Pacific region.

But in a closed-door address to fellow foreign ministers preparing for the summit, Mr. Powell said that security and economics are "inseparable" and said the Bangkok gathering should make a strong statement against terrorism.

A spokesman who conveyed Mr. Powell's remarks to reporters said the secretary highlighted the problem of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons that may be in terrorist hands, saying that "no threat is more serious" to international aviation.

Mr. Powell has had "pull-aside" bilateral meetings here with, among others, the Russian and Chinese foreign ministers to discuss prospects for further talks on the North Korean nuclear program.

He is also urging APEC members to be more assertive in pressing for an end to military rule in Burma and the release of democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi.