ASEAN+3 to meet in Phuket next month
03 Mar 2009
Thailand will host a meeting of leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its key partners, including China and Japan and South Korea, on the island of Phuket next month.
The meeting of the 10+3 from April 10-12 will also be attended by leaders from Australia, New Zealand and India, Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said today.
ASEAN recently held its annual summit outside the Thai capital of Bangkok from 27 February to 1 March due to fears of fresh demonstrations on the lines of the December protests.
Supporters of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra had staged a protest in December, forcing ASEAN to shift the summit venue to the royal Thai resort of Hua Hin.
The southern resort island of Phuket will now host the delayed ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 meetings from 10 to 12 April, Vejjajiva said.
He said Phuket was chosen as it has an international airport and other facilities to accommodate a meeting involving representatives from 16 countries. ''It will be more convenient for the leaders and other delegates to go there," he said after a meeting of the cabinet.
The grouping is expected to hold another summit in October as per the revised charter.
ASEAN has, meanwhile, proposed a $120 billion foreign exchange reserve pool to protect member countries from the global downturn caused by the worst financial storm.
About 80 per cent of the forex reserve needed for the reserve pool will come from the ''plus three'' nations of Japan, China and South Korea.
ASEAN leaders have also vowed to ''stand firm'' against protectionism, although, individually they seek to promote local products.
Growth rate in the ASEAN block, which is twice as reliant on exports as other regions, has slackened to record lows despite stimulus plans of a combined $700 billion across the region.