PM Lee to attend Asean Summit and related meetings in KL this weekend

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be attending the 27th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur).
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be attending the 27th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur). PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be in Kuala Lumpur from Friday to Sunday for the 27th Asean Summit and related meetings, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on Thursday (Nov 19).

The summit, which officially opens on Saturday, will be attended by leaders of all 10 Asean member countries.

It comes on the eve of a major milestone for the regional grouping - the establishment of an Asean Community on Dec 31 this year.

Leaders will take stock of the progress made towards a more integrated region, economically as well as in political and security cooperation and socio-cultural cooperation.

They will also sign the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the Asean Community.

This aims to give greater impetus for officials in the region to work at further lowering barriers to trade and encouraging the flow of skilled labour across borders, subject to countries' manpower needs and laws.

Leaders will also set broad directions for a post-2015 vision for Asean and sign the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Asean 2025: Forging Ahead Together. In addition, they will sign the Asean Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

They will also exchange views on regional and international developments. Key topics are expected to include the threat of extremist terrorism and maritime issues in the South China Sea.

Also joining Asean leaders in KL are leaders from eight countries with close partnerships with the grouping - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

Asean leaders will engage their counterparts at several meetings, and all 18 leaders will meet at the 10th East Asia Summit (EAS).

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman told reporters there will likely be EAS statements on enhancing regional maritime cooperation, countering violent extremism, and enhanching regional health security on communicable diseases, among others.

US President Barack Obama is also scheduled to meet PM Lee, as well as several Asean leaders, Mr Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice said.

An Asean-New Zealand Commemorative Summit will also be held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Asean-New Zealand relations. In addition, leaders will meet with the East Asia Business Council and the Asean Business Advisory Council.

PM Lee will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Ministry of Foreign Affairs senior officials. Mrs Lee will also accompany him for the visit.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister in Mr Lee's absence.