ASEAN foreign ministers met in Hanoi on Tuesday July 20, ahead of the 17th ASEAN Regional Forum on Friday. One of the main issues discussed was the Korean Peninsula tension following the sinking of a South Korean warship on March 26. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting spokesman Tran Ngoc An said at a news briefing that the ten ministers expressed concerns over the Cheonan incident, and called for an early resumption of the six-party talk on North Korean denuclearization. Involving China, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Russia, and the United States, the meeting is the key to long-term peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. The Ministers also supported the statement by the United Nations Security Council earlier this month which denounced the attack but did not specify who is to blame.
On the sideline of the meeting, Indonesia Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told that ASEAN has decided to expand the 16-nation East Asia Summit (EAS) to include the United States and Russia in the group. EAS currently comprises of the 10 ASEAN states, plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Natalegawa believed that having the US and Russia will help counterbalance China’s dominance within the group.
US, Russia to join East Asia Summit [AFP, 20 July 2010]
ASEAN foreign ministers convene ahead of regional security forum [Xinhuanet, 21 July 2010]