Commentary: Umesh Pandey
The agreement by Asean foreign ministers on a common agenda for their coming talks with the goliath to the north was one of the most important regional events of last week, but something even more interesting took place a little farther north on the Asian continent.
Disputes over the South China Sea have been festering for years, so it was significant that Asean ministers meeting in Hua Hin (minus their Cambodian counterpart, unsurprisingly) are now united on a Code of Conduct for the area. Now they will take their proposal to Beijing for talks from Aug 28-30 to mark the 10th anniversary of their “strategic partnership”.
But one could argue that an even bigger and more encouraging development took place in Japan. Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, despite previous claims that he felt sorry for not having visited the Yasukuni shrine during his first term as premier in 2006, stayed away from ceremonies held there to mark the 68th anniversary of the surrender of the Japanese forces during World War II.
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