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Southeast Asian diplomats open talks in Manila

/ 11:41 AM August 05, 2017

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, center, and his wife Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano, left, greet Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Kyaw Tin during a reception for the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN foreign ministers meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017 in Pasay City, south Manila, Philippines. Alarm over North Korea’s missile tests, a tentative step to temper South China Sea disputes, and unease over a disastrous siege by pro-Islamic State group militants, will grab the spotlight at the annual meetings of Southeast Asia’s top diplomats and their Asian and Western counterparts. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, POOL)

Southeast Asia’s top diplomats opened on Saturday their annual meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Metro Manila without the usual security overkill.

READ: Grand parade to cap Asean’s 50th anniversary rites

Motorists were allowed through as joggers, cyclists and tennis players sweated under a cloudy sky by the Manila bay—a usual destination of family members who want to get a whiff of the ocean breeze during the weekend.

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The latest of the annual meetings of Southeast Asian foreign ministers is being attended by officials from different Association of Southeast Asian Nations-member countries including the U.S., China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas.

Public traffic was only stopped when the foreign ministers from the 10-member Asean arrived mid-morning Saturday.

According to Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde, President Rodrigo Duterte has shown disdain for security lockdowns that inconvenience the public.

Still, police deployed more than 13,000 officers in the capital and declared no-fly and no-sail zones around the venue.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, walks as he leaves for the Philippines to participate in the ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Regional Forum, at the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

Topping the agenda are North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests, an attempt to temper South China Sea disputes and unease over a siege by pro-Islamic State group militants in the southern Philippine city of Marawi in Mindanao region, which has dragged on for more than two months. JPV

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TAGS: ASEAN, Asean meet, Malacañang, Marawi City, Missile Tests, North Korea, PICC, President Rodrigo Duterte
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