ASEAN 'cautiously encouraged' by Trump meeting with Kim

Sydney - By Frank Walker, - The 10 member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations were "cautiously encouraged" by the prospect of a meeting between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, ASEAN chair Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore said as the summit ended Sunday.

Prime Minister Lee said North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes threatened the region as well as global peace and security.
Lee was speaking after the three-day summit ended with a 29 point communique in Sydney that called for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as well as the peaceful use of the region's seas and oceans.
The 10 leaders, with host nation Australia, which is a dialogue partner of the group, called for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and urged China to join talks for a code of conduct in the waters.
The joint statement by ASEAN leaders, which includes Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, called for promoting and protecting human rights in the region, but avoided mentioning any specific abuses.
Lee did not answer a reporter's question about Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's warning that Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya refugees could lead to a serious security threat to the region.
Najib said Saturday that the Rohingya crisis could explode into a serious security threat for the region, warning that Islamic State could use atrocities committed against the Rohingya to fuel radicalization.
Lee said he had no intelligence that terror groups were operating among the Rohingya refugees.
Australian Prime Minister Turnbull said Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, had asked for more humanitarian aid to meet the refugee crisis on the border with Bangladesh. 
Meanwhile, around 1,000 people demonstrated at Sydney's Town Hall against human rights abuses in the region and challenged Turnbull to pressure Suu Kyi to cease the persecution of the Rohingya minority.

Sunday, March 18th 2018
By Frank Walker,

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