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Last Updated:[09-04-2009 07:22:37 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

N. Korean Satellite Launch May Deflect ASEAN Summit’s Real Purpose

tradenews The second phase of the 14th ASEAN Summit and related summits which is scheduled to be held on 10-12 April in the Thai resort city of Pattaya is feared to be used as a platform for discussing the North Korean satellite launch than addressing the key issues of the region. China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand will be attending the meet, along with the ASEAN, is in fact organized to evaluate the economic climate of the region, and to jointly declare the remedial measures to counter it.

The summit happens to be the first forum after the North Korean satellite launch which has been widely criticized by Japan, South Korea and the western world as an attempt to test its ballistic prowess. As a result, many ASEAN members are concerned about the summit getting reduced to a forum for finding ways to penalise N. Korea for their action rather than meeting region’s economic problems. Earlier, despite the US and its allies headlining the Korea’s satellite launch as rocket launch and urging the UN to impose sanctions, China and Russia had called for patience.

The ASEAN summit was originally planned for last December and postponed with two phases in late February and April respectively this year due to anti-government protests that shut down Bangkok's main international airport for several days during the scheduled period. Usually the summit is an annual gathering of representatives or leaders from ASEAN group, but the global economic crisis have compelled the group to include the economic powerhouses of the region in the forthcoming summit.

According to sources, the Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd will once again appeal the participants to review his proposal in last May for an Asia-Pacific Union (APU) in the line of the EU. Rudd’s proposed APU member states account for more than half the population of the world and is worth about half the global economic output. His call is likely to have more takers this time around since the summit has plans to formally denounce any form of protectionism to tide over the current economic mess quickly.

The ASEAN leaders will make sure that the focus is on climate change, which dominated the last summit, will be followed by trade, energy, food security and disaster management. They also hope the meet will include the finer points of the recently concluded G20 Summit to aid struggling economies get out of the present economic quagmire left behind by the global financial and economic crisis.

By Jose Roy

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