Saturday, January 10, 2009
BANGKOK, Jan 10 (TNA) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is confident that all the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries, including Cambodia, will attend the group's summit to be held in Thailand's Hua Hin resort late next month.
Mr. Abhisit said what his Cambodian counterpart said was probably a suggestion that the ASEAN summit should be held concurrently with the group's dialogue partners, whom the Thai government had already informed of the necessary to hold the summit first as several agreements must be jointly signed by ASEAN leaders.
The Cambodian leader has been contacted and he has confirmed that he will attend the ASEAN summit February 27-March 1 in Hua Hin.
Mr. Abhisit announced on Wednesday that his coalition government had decided to move the summit to Hua Hin, southwest of Bangkok, instead of the capital, to avoid possible disruption by anti-government protesters threatening to interfere with he summit.
Due to complications, ASEAN's meeting with its dialogue partners --China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand -- is now expected to be held in April with an as yet undetermined venue, Mr. Abhisit said.
Despite confirmation by the Thai government leader that his Cambodian counterpart will attend the summit, Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said in Phnom Penh on Friday that Mr. Hun Sen may not attend the ASEAN summit because it would be costly and difficult for him to attend.
Also, the spokesman said talks with China, Japan and South Korea were critical because they are expected to give US$80 billion in regional aid to reduce short-term liquidity problems, in line with the so-called Chiang Mai initiatives agreed following the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Thailand presently holds the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN, which groups it with Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.