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Spokesman for the Asean conference on Phuket

Asean's 'Grave Concern' at Burma Secret Trial

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
THAILAND, as chair of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, expressed the group's ''grave concern'' about the trial in secret of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's rightful democratic leader, Thai officials said today.

The statement was released after a meeting of senior officials from Asean's 10 member countries on Phuket, Thai Foreign Ministry officials said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has called on the ruling military junta to release the Nobel Prize-winning laureate and other political prisoners as soon as possible to promote democracy and national reconciliation.

Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the Thai government was ready to work with the Burmese government and other countries to bring about peace and order in Burma.

''With the eyes of the international community on Myanmar (Burma) at present, the honor and the credibility of the government of the Union of Myanmar are at stake,'' the Asean statement said.

At today's talks on Phuket were representatives from 22 countries including Burma, China, the EU, India, Singapore, the US and Australia.

The importance of the military in dealing with swine flu and other wide security issues was stressed when representatives from more than 20 countries met on Phuket yesterday.

The gathering underlined '' the urgent need to address a current global economic crisis'' and the threat it posed to the Asia-Pacific region.

The Asean Regional Forum Defence Officials' Dialogue is one of three Asean gatherings being held back-to back over three days.

According to an official report, yesterday's meeting ''underlined the importance of the strengthening of cooperation and collective measures in the Asia Pacific region to effectively cope with non-traditional security threats.''

Examples specified were the global economic crisis, food and energy shortages, large-scale natural disaster, transnational crime, terrorism, piracy, pandemic diseases, proliferation of the weapons of mass-destruction as well as environmental degradation.

The Asean Regional Forum was considered to be ''the important mechanism that would help facilitate cooperation and coordination in the region in response to non-security challenges.''

The meeting noted the importance of ''not only a whole of government approach but also a whole of society approach.''

''There was a view expressed that the Asia-Pacific countries should also look into education as a key to address non-traditional threats.'' the report said.

The 16-nation meeting of Asean Plus Six (dialogue partners Australia, China, India, Japan Korea and New Zealand) could not be rescheduled to Phuket in June but may yet be held on the island in October.

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Monday July 6, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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