Abuses of human rights and suppression of democracy in Myanmar are likely to overshadow the fifth Asia-Europe summit, taking place this weekend in Hanoi.
The country also known as Burma been accepted as a full member of the Asia-Europe meeting, or ASEM, the organisation running the summit. ASEM is an informal grouping that both regions see as a way to promote trade and security. The European Union has threatened new sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime unless it releases opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. However, human rights activists say the EU is duplicitous for accepting Myanmar as an ASEM member and receiving its high-level delegation at the summit. North Korea’s nuclear ambitions will undoubtedly also come in for scrutiny at the two-day meeting, which begins on Friday. Enhancing cooperation against terrorism is another priority, while fairer trade is expected to be one of the issues under discussion. ASEM now has 38 member states – the 25 EU nations and 13 countries in Asia. As well as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia were accepted as members ahead of the summit.