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Bali summit to focus on regional development

(China Daily)

08:18, November 18, 2011

Premier Wen Jiabao (left) meets on Thursday with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Nusa Dua on Indonesia's resort island of Bali. (China Daily/Agencies)

BALI, Indonesia / BEIJING - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) does not want specific political and security issues to become topics of discussion at the approaching East Asia Summit, the Indonesian president told Premier Wen Jiabao on this Indonesian resort island on Thursday.

If they do, they could draw attention at the event away from other important business, said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The remarks referred to the calls that the US and several ASEAN members have made for territorial disputes in the South China Sea to be discussed at the East Asia summit on Saturday.

Yudhoyono said on Thursday evening that, against the backdrop of world economic difficulties, ASEAN countries should concentrate more on development and ensure the summit advances "in the right direction".

"ASEAN is not in favor of discussing detailed political and security issues at the summit," Yudhoyono said, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry.

Initiated in 2005, the East Asia Summit was designed as a forum for discussions about regional development.

Wen said Beijing wants to see the summit stick to its original purpose.

China has long insisted that its territorial disputes with some ASEAN members should be settled through bilateral consultations. It announced this week that Beijing is willing to work further with ASEAN nations to find a way to prevent accidents by observing the code of conduct for the South China Sea.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Yudhoyono holds China's work to solve the dispute in high esteem.

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