Burma, North Korea Top Issues at Asean Security Meeting
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Burma, North Korea Top Issues at Asean Security Meeting

By Scott Neuman/AP Writer/Kuala Lumpur Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Asean on Tuesday opened a key security meeting, burdened by the lack of progress toward democracy in Burma, fading prospects for hosting talks on North Korea and concern over fighting in the Middle East.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took the rare step of giving Burma a verbal thumping Tuesday in his opening speech at the Asean meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to the foreign ministers of the 10-nation bloc, Badawi said the situation in Burma was “impacting on the image and credibility of Asean.” The organization wants to see Burma “move forward with the rest of Asean,” he said. Burma claims to be working toward democracy but has shown few signs of progress, critics say.
In the opening address, Abdullah said challenges confronting the bloc "are not only economic, social and internal, but also strategic and global in nature."

"These challenges emanate from beyond our region, and are therefore beyond our immediate control," he told the meeting.

On Monday, host Malaysia delivered a sharp rebuke to Burma, which has been a thorn in the side of the organization for years.

Asean has come under increasing pressure from major trading partners the US and EU to persuade the junta to move toward democracy and improve its human rights record.

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