Hanoi gears up to host ASEAN meeting

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Foreign ministers and government officials of more than 27 countries are expected to arrive in Hanoi for the 43rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and the 17th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) scheduled between July 15 and 23.

Pham Quang Vinh, assistant to Vietnam's Minister of Foreign Affairs and chief of the ASEAN-Vietnam Meeting, said that the series of high-level meetings will boost cooperation among ASEAN members as well as the bloc's relations with other important partners, particularly China, the US, South Korea and Japan.

Vinh said discussions would primarily center on advancing the ASEAN community in the next five years but also address global issues such as climate change, infectious disease control and food and energy security.

According to Vinh, the ministers are expected to sign the revised third Treaty of the Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia and reach a consensus on ARF's vision for the next ten years.

A comprehensive agenda to bring forward solutions for the ASEAN community will be completed during these meetings and presented at the 17th ASEAN summit scheduled in Hanoi this October.

The meetings will include the participation of Papua New Guinea and East Timor as observers.

North Korea will also participate in ARF talks, as discussions of its nuclear activities and the sinking of the South Korean warship will also dominate the dialogue.

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