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One-party Asian states among Europe-Asia central focus

brussels bureau

One-party Asian states among Europe-Asia central focus


Nuclear dangers and arms sales differences in Asia have been among the top concerns for European foreign ministers meeting Asian counterparts in Japan.

Concerns about human rights in Myanmar were also on the agenda. The two-day ASEM summit brings together 38 countries and the European Commission. Japan’s Nobutaka Machimura warned that if North Korea failed to return swiftly to talks on its atomic arms programmes other measures such as UN Security Council intervention should be considered. Myanmar is not the only country under pressure to improve its human rights record; Japan reiterated its opposition to Brussels’ proposed lifting of an arms ban against China, that ban imposed after Beijing’s 1989 anti-democracy crackdown. On renewed attempts at dialogue with Myanmar over human rights, EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner outlined conditions: “We will be vocal and tough on the question of releasing finally Aung San Suu Kyii and other political detainees, and we also want to ask them to have this national convention open to all the political parties.” On easing the Pyongyang tensions, Ferrero-Waldner said the resumption of talks between the two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, Russia and China was the best way. The Asia-Europe meeting is one of the few major groups which does not include the United States. Its members account for 60 percent of world trade.
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