US-China trade war, Rohingya crisis among issues to be raised in regional meet by Dr M, Asean leaders

G. Prakash
The Asean logo, made out of flowers, is seen before the 34th Asean Summit takes place, in Bangkok, Thailand June 19, 2019. — Reuters pic

BANGKOK, June 19 — Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis, US-China trade war, Korean peninsula issue and the South China Sea dispute will be among the topics expected to be raised by leaders during the 34th Asean Summit and Related Summits from June 20 to 23 here.

Asean-Malaysia National Secretariat director-general Datuk Ahmad Rozian Abd Ghani said such crises will be among the topics leaders of the 10 member countries are expected to be discussed during the regional grouping.

“While I can’t pre-judge what the leaders will be discussing, we can expect a few current issues that are affecting Asean countries to be among the topics that will be raised such as the South China Sea and Korean peninsula disputes.

“The leaders will also exchange views on important regional and international issues such as the Rohingya crisis,” he said during a press briefing with the Malaysian media here today.

Ahmad Rozian said it was important for leaders including Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to discuss current affairs in order for Asean countries to achieve stability and better economy and improve cordial diplomatic relations.

“Another topic that will be up for discussion will be terrorism and foreign extremism, this is an important issue to be addressed.

“The US-China trade war will be another issue that will definitely be raised, as this is between two powerhouse countries and it affects everybody, so I’m sure this will be discussed,” he said.

Thailand is chairing the re­gional grouping this year, with a theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. The focus is on building a people-centered Asean community.

Ahmad Rozian said the focus of the Summit will be to raise issues related to helping Asean to better progress under Thailand’s chairmanship.

“Malaysia fully supports this year’s theme which is ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’ and will do all it can to contribute to achieving better partnership between Asean countries.

“Partnership for sustainability covers a wide aspect in the form of economy and political stability and Malaysia will see in what way we can contribute to achieving this,” he added.

Ahmad Rozian said Asean Leaders’ Vision Statement on “Partnership for Sustainability, an Asean Indo-Pacific Outlook, Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in the Region and Asean Leaders’ Statement on the Asean Cultural Year 2019” are four outcome documents expected to be adopted during the summit and related meetings.

Meanwhile, Datuk Jojie Samuel, the Malaysian ambassador to Thailand since 2018 said the regional meet will provide an opportunity for Asean leaders to take stock of and review current issues.

“The meet will allow leaders to look at Asean community agendas after the adoption of the Asean 2025: Forging Ahead Together (Asean Vision 2025) in 2015 as well as the chair’s (Thailand) priorities and deliverable,” he said.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad will lead the Malaysian delegation in the 34th Asean Summit and Related Summits from June 20 to 23 here.

The prime minister will be accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ignatius Darrel Leiking and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali as well as officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, Wisma Putra, Ministry of International Trade and Industry and Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA).

The prime minister and other ministers will participate in three interfaces, namely the Asean leaders’ interface with representatives of Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Asean Leaders’ Interface with representatives of Asean Youth, and Asean Leaders’ Interface with representatives of Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC).

Dr Mahathir will also participate in the 13th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia- Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) summit and the 12th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) summit that would be held on June 23.

During the visit, he will also officiate the Malaysia Fest 2019 at the Central World Shopping Mall and hold a roundtable business meeting with Thailand’s captains of industry, which will take place on June 21.

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