Ministers Begin 43rd ASEAN Meeting in Vietnam

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Ministers from southeast Asian countries meet in Hanoi, Vietnam for the 43rd ASEAN meeting. Upcoming elections in Burma and tension on the Korean peninsula are expected to the top the agenda at the gathering.

Southeast Asian ministers are gathered in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on Tuesday for an Association of South East Asian Nations regional forum meeting.

Tension on the Korean peninsula is expected to top the agenda during this week's meetings.

Asian foreign ministers urged North Korea, the United States and four other parties attending the forum to return to the table for a nuclear disarmament talk.

[Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN Chairman]: (male, English)
“The North Korean issue, again I understand the ministers will make use or the chair will make use of the present of the foreign minister of North Korea to engage in a discussion to see if the six-party talks can be given a new life.”

Also topping the ministers' agenda is the upcoming election in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

[Marty Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Indonesia]: (male, English)
"Many issues have been discussed. Information shared by many countries about their own respective development, including developments in Myanmar. We heard the information, sharing information by Myanmar on its planned election. The registration process they are going through, in particular the political party-- registration of this party. ASEAN member state, especially expressed their hope the election process will be inclusive of democratic and transparent as they have said."

The United States and Britain have said a general election due later this year would be illegitimate if the military junta doesn’t allow thousands of political opponents to run, who are now in prison.

Critics have already denounced the elections as a sham that will leave the real power with the military. No date has been given for the poll but it is expected between October and December.

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