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ASEAN Defense Ministers Meet in Malaysia


The defense ministers of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to meet for the first time in Malaysia on Tuesday.

An ASEAN spokesman said the talks will focus on improving security ties in general in an effort to fight terrorism and fight piracy.

Though ASEAN trade officials meet regularly, this is the first time defense chiefs have formally sat down together in the organization's 39 year history.

Burma's defense minister will not participate in the meeting, citing prior domestic commitments. A spokesman for the ASEAN secretary-general called Burma's absence "unfortunate."

Burma has been under pressure from ASEAN to make democratic reforms.

In addition to Malaysia and Burma, the other members of the regional grouping are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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