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Asian nations hold ‘positive’ meeting

/ 03:23 AM July 22, 2011

NUSA DUA, Indonesia—Southeast Asian foreign ministers held wide-ranging talks with their counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea here on Thursday, ahead of a security summit involving the United States.

North Korea’s nuclear program, climate change and global food shortages were among the issues discussed during what host Indonesia described as upbeat discussions despite tensions among some participants over a territorial spat.

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“It was a very positive meeting,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said after emerging from the talks between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) and their three big neighbors.

“During the course of our meeting … we took stock of the present state of Asean+3 collaboration on financial and economic issues, which has been extremely positive,” the official said.

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He said one of the top issues discussed was North Korea’s nuclear program, and that there was support for restarting stalled six-nation diplomatic efforts aimed at getting the isolated country to give up its atomic ambitions in return for diplomatic and economic benefits.

“Of course, the North Korean issue was discussed in good length and it is one of the common concerns not only for countries in the Northeast Asia but also Southeast Asia,” Natalegawa said. “We wish very much to see the six-party talks revived.”

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said other issues on the agenda included food and energy security, environmental issues and cooperation on disasters.

However, Del Rosario said one of the most contentious issues—competing claims between China and some Asean nations to what Manila called the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)—was not mentioned. Reports from AFP and Jerry E. Esplanada

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TAGS: Asian nations, China, Diplomacy, foreign ministers, Japan, Philippines, South korea, Southeast Asian
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