Security, economic issues top ASEAN summit agenda in Brunei

DPA Bandar Seri Begawan | Updated on April 23, 2013

Security and economic issues are top on the agenda of the leaders of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meetings in Brunei this week, a diplomatic source said today.

The leaders of the 10-nation bloc are expected to call for “continued engagement” with China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea that heightened over the past year.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to a peaceful resolution of the disputes without resorting to threats or use of force,” according to a draft statement to be issued by the Chairman.

A tense stand-off ensued last year between the Philippines and Chinese ships in the disputed area that led Manila to seek arbitration before a tribunal in the United Nations.

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

Brunei, as chair of the ASEAN this year, said it hopes to see a legally binding code of conduct on the sea with China by the end of the year.

ASEAN was founded in 1967 and groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The leaders are also expected to express concern over developments in the Korean Peninsula and would call on all parties involved to “exercise restraint and comply fully with their obligations.” They will also discuss boost trade and investment as the bloc moves closer to implementing its plan for a European Union-like community by the end of 2015.

“Taking into account global economic uncertainties, we recognized the need to enhance ASEAN competitiveness by better facilitating trade and investment,” the statement said.

Published on April 23, 2013

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