Myanmar, North Korea in Focus as ASEAN Summit Starts
Myanmar, N.Korea in Focus as ASEAN Summit Starts
Picture of Head of State of ASEAN SUMMIT
Southeast Asian leaders met Tuesday for an annual summit set to be dominated by 's historic reforms, 's planned and strategic maritime disputes with .
Leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations( ) convened in the Cambodian capital two days after by-elections in saw pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi win her first seat in parliament.
Election monitors from , which holds the ASEAN chair, have declared Sunday's vote free and fair, and urged the West to lift sanctions imposed over the Myanmar military's long record of rights abuses.
ASEAN foreign ministers applauded the "orderly" conduct of the polls during talks in Phnom Penh on Monday, setting the stage for a strong endorsement from the bloc's leaders at Wednesday's conclusion of the two-day summit.
ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said the vote should contribute to the "reintegration of Myanmar into the global community".
"We are encouraged by the way the by-elections were conducted. We are cheered that all the major stakeholders had cooperated to ensure the success of this landmark political exercise," Surin said in a statement.
"This is only the first step of a long journey."