08/13/2013, 00.00
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Economy, health and environment at ASEAN foreign ministers’ summit

Meeting focuses on strengthening cooperation in view of the emergence of a single block and finding solutions to environmental problems. The summit that begins tomorrow in Thailand will also deal with China, in anticipation of gathering at the end of August in Beijing. "Peace, stability and economic support" priorities.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Strengthening unity and cooperation within the group of Member States, in view of the creation - by 2015 - of a single economic-trade community. Moreover the implementation of a common unambiguous health policy and provide new responses to environmental challenges, such as the fogs and smoke caused by smog, pollution and deforestation which most recently strained relations between Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. These are the issues at the center of talks between the foreign ministers of ASEAN member states, scheduled for tomorrow in Hua Hin, a tourist resort in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula, Thailand.

Presiding over the summit of the association that brings together 10 countries of Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia) will be the Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul. This is the first ASEAN meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers of 2013.

For the director general of the Department of ASEAN Affairs Arthayudh Srisamoot the summit provides a "good opportunity" to find "common" answers to the challenges posed by the environment and the growing, but often unchecked, economic development. But the main point on the agenda will be "the direction that the community will take after 2015," the deadline for the creation of a unitary block-inspired by the model of the European Union, with free exchange of goods and people.

The goal, announce the participants of the summit is to ensure "peace, stability and economic support" for all members among which, even today, there is an obvious disparity in terms of goods and wealth produced.

Finally, the meeting will serve to prepare for the next special summit between the ASEAN Foreign Ministers and China, scheduled for August 28 to 30 in Beijing. The gathering will mark the 10th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and China, although the main theme will revolve around the disputes in the South China Sea, where it is still an ongoing dispute between Beijing, Manila, Hanoi and other nations in the region.

In fact, territorial disputes were the main reason for the failure of an ASEAN summit in November, 2012 in Cambodia, with the host country blocking the drafting of a shared document (and a line) to be taken against "Chinese imperialism ". The aim is to draft a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the seas, even if the negotiations - warn diplomats - will have to "satisfy" all countries and therefore seem unlikely to be signed "in the short term."


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