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Asian Leaders in Helsinki for Asia-Europe Summit


Asian leaders are in Finland's capital for a summit with the European Union to tackle global trade and security.

The two-day Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, opens Sunday in Helsinki. Heads of state and government from 38 Asian and European nations are participating. Before the talks began Sunday, Asian leaders invited India, Mongolia and Pakistan to join ASEM.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are expected to voice concerns about North Korea's nuclear ambitions during the summit.

Trade issues also are likely to dominate the agenda, with leaders pushing for a revival of the World Trade Organization talks that were suspended in July. Security, energy, climate change and bird flu also will be discussed.

The summit is held every two years.

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, who is hosting the summit, has said EU officials will raise the issue of Burma's human rights situation.

The European Union has temporarily lifted its ban on high-level Burmese officials traveling to Europe to allow Burma's foreign minister to attend the meeting.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and AP.

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