A special informal ASEAN foreign ministers meeting wrapped up yesterday in Bangkok. Ministers discussed the East Asia Summit, the 18 country grouping that includes China, Japan, India and the US among others.
There have been concerns that the EAS' larger players will dominate the discussion agenda. The ministers discussed how best to maintain ASEAN's centrality in the grouping.
However, the South China Sea will be off the table for discussion, unless there are further clashes in disputed territory. China claims most of the sea as its territory, including areas claimed by Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
The ministers also exchanged views on regional issues, including Myanmar's political reform, the Thailand-Cambodia border conflict, and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
SIIA Chairman Simon Tay discussed ASEAN's relevance in the context of US-China relations in a comment last year.
Issues of "mutual concern", EAS's direction, discussed in meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers [TODAY, 12 Apr 2011]
ASEAN FMs avoid controversy in setting 2011 summit agenda [VOANews, 11 Apr 2011]