Tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship may overshadow the Asia-Pacific's largest security forum when it convenes in Vietnam next week, diplomats and observers said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join her counterparts from 27 countries and blocs including China, Russia and the European Union for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on Friday, July 23.
Diplomats said the ARF would be under strong pressure to address the issue after the UN Security Council condemned the attack but did not apportion blame.
However, with North Korea, China and Russia on one side of the table and South Korea and the United States on the other, the ARF was in a "sort of headlock" over the wording of any statement, the diplomat said.
The 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- whose foreign ministers meet in Hanoi from Monday -- form the core of the ARF and have a strict principle of non-interference in each other's affairs.
N.Korea tensions overshadow Asian security forum [AFP, 16 July 2010]