Myanmar hosts major gathering of world leaders

President U Thein Sein delivers address at 9th East Asia Summit (EAS) Plenary Session in Nay Pyi Taw.
President U Thein Sein delivers address at 9th East Asia Summit (EAS) Plenary Session in Nay Pyi Taw.

Leaders of 18 Asia and Pacific countries including the United States, China and ASEAN members met here Thursday to exchange views on a broad range of issues including management of disputes in the South China Sea, climate change, and the Ebola virus.
Myanmar President U Thein Sein, who chaired the forum because Myanmar holds ASEAN’s rotating leadership this year, stressed the importance of boosting cooperation among the countries for the East Asia Summit, maintaining ASEAN’s centrality, tackling issues that pose challenges to peace and stability of the region, economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, enhancing regional integration, and improving people-to-people contacts.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who attended as a guest, said in his statement that Asian countries should expand their coordination and explore creating a “new security architecture” for closer regional cooperation, especially in Northeast Asia.
“The region – and indeed the world – will benefit greatly from a future-oriented Asia that is ever more integrated – engaged – and assuming greater responsibilities commensurate with its clout.”
On the threat of the Ebola virus, the U.N. leader called on the 18 leaders to do even more to help speed up efforts to first get the crisis under control and then bring it to an end.
As for climate change, he urged all countries to follow the lead of China and the United States and announce “ambitious post-2020 targets” for greenhouse gas emission as soon as possible.
According to Kyodo News, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged China and other countries involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea to refrain from taking actions that could undermine stability.
“We expect (countries involved) to exercise self-restraint against action that could undermine peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Abe was quoted as saying, without naming China.
For his own part, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said, “China’s resolve to safeguard its territorial sovereignty is clear and its determination to uphold regional peace and stability is firm.”Downplaying China’s recent maritime clashes with the Philippines and Vietnam, Li said, “The situation in the South China Sea is on the whole stable, and the freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea is ensured.”
Li also reiterated Beijing’s position that claimant states in the region should pursue joint development of resources, “as this is a realistic and effective way to manage
differences.”
East Asian countries “should properly address disputes through peaceful means and pursue lasting friendships and win-win cooperation,” he added.
The EAS was held back-to-back with the 25th ASEAN Summit and other related summits.
The EAS comprises the 10 members of ASEAN — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

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