Security was tight in Naypyidaw on Friday, as foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered for meetings on regional and international issues.
The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings at the Myanmar [Burma] International Convention Centre (MICC) will also include counterparts from non-ASEAN members in discussions on regional security and economic development.
Burma’s President Thein Sein and Foreign Minister Wanna Muang Lwin will be presiding at the opening ceremony on Friday to deliver opening remarks. This year’s foreign ministerial meetings coincide with ASEAN Day, set for 8 August of every year, to celebrate the birth of the group 47 years ago.
The three-day foreign ministerial meeting is likely to be overshadowed by the South China Sea territorial dispute between some ASEAN member countries and China.
Member states are also hoping the meetings will bring about a comprehensive push towards the establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.
ASEAN foreign ministers are also due to hold bilateral meetings with their dialogue partners, including the United States, China, Japan,South Korea, Australia, India, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand and Russia.
ASEAN consists of ten Southeast Asian countries – Cambodia, Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.