09/07/2006, 00.00
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Seoul: Asian politicians' meeting starts tomorrow

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

The Conference for Asian Political Parties is taking place in the South Korean capital. Around 500 delegates from 40 Asian nations are expected to attend to discuss "poverty, peace and economic cooperation".

Seoul (AsiaNews) – About 500 politicians from across Asia will attend a conference starting in Seoul tomorrow "to promote exchanges and cooperation" in the continent.

The 4th Conference for Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) will be three days long. Delegates from the largest political organizations of 40 Asian nations will seek to find common ground on themes like poverty and security problems and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The meeting is co-sponsored by South Korea's governing Uri Party and the main opposition Grand National Party. Participants will include An Sok, Cambodian deputy prime minister, and Franklin Drilon, president of the Philippine Senate.

Shii Kazuo, chairman of Japan's Communist Party, is visiting Seoul for the first time in his capacity as party member. Members of this party were formerly not allowed to visit South Korea under the nation's National Security Law. North Korea was invited but refused to attend.

Under the theme of "Peace and Prosperity in Asia,'' participants will discuss Pyongyang's missile launches on July 5 that heightened tensions in the region.

The South Korea President Roh Moo-hyun's welcoming message on video will be read during the opening ceremony, followed by a congratulatory address by Liu Yunshan, a member of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee.

The first such conference was inaugurated in the Philippines; later meetings were held in Bangkok and Beijing.

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