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4 November 2009

Asean-US Meet in Singapore:
Nuclear weapons, disaster management, flu control on agenda

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The ASEAN-US Summit to be held after the Singapore APEC meeting in mid-November will discuss topics such as non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, disaster management, A/H1N1 flu influenza control, Indonesia’s state news agency Antara quoted a Thai official as saying Tuesday.

The 90-minute Asean-US summit is scheduled for November 15 at Singapore`s Shangri-La Hotel and will be co-chaired by US President Barack Obama and Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the current Asean (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Chairman, Boosara Kanchanalai, Director of Division 4 of Department of Asean Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, told a press briefing.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (Apec) leaders’ meeting will be held on November 14-15 in Singapore.

It is expected that non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, disaster management, A/H1N1 flu influenza prevention, climate change, anti-terrorism will be discussed at the Singapore-proposed summit, she said.

"It’s not a permanent meeting but was temporarily decided short time ago," the director said. "Leaders of ten Asean member countries have confirmed to join the meeting."

Details of the agenda and the joint statement will be worked out later this week by the Philippines, the coordinator for the Asean-US meeting, Thailand’s Nation news network earlier said.

The Asean-US Summit was first planned in September 2007 in Singapore but then-president George W Bush called it off at the last minute due to his tight schedule at home.

Bush met Asean leaders three times during his tenure -- in October 2002 in Los Cabos, Mexico; in December 2005 in Busan, South Korea; and in September 2007, in Sydney.

But these occasions were part of the Apec leaders’ meetings, and as a result only seven Asean members could attend. Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are not members of Apec.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has visited the area twice since she took office. The region is the sixth largest export market of the United States.


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