South East Asian heads of state descend on Sydney for ASEAN summit

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Definitely, however, statements supporting freedom of navigation, resolving issues through global law and dialogue and support for the code of conduct are likely to be included in the ASEAN-Australia communique.

Mr Fischer became deputy prime minister and minister for trade when the Keating government was defeated in 1996, with the Coalition taking a more cautious line on the group comprising Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.

It was no use, the minister said, to have every safeguard at home when the terror threat still existed "at our doorstep". Southeast Asian nations have called on North Korea to end its nuclear program and taken a firm stance against protectionism in view of Donald Trump's trade policies.

Jokowi also lauded the active participation of Australia and ASEAN in the fight against terrorism.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and his counterpart Julie Bishop sat in with the leaders.

The Southeast Asian countries also urged Myanmar to protect Rohingya Muslims, who have been fleeing to Bangladesh and other neighboring countries since violent clashes broke out in Myanmar's Rakhine state previous year.

But Lee said the matter was a cause of concern for all of ASEAN as all members would be anxious "if there is any instability or any trouble" in fellow member countries.

The two-day Asean-Australia Summit which started today, is to discuss the future direction and cooperation between Asean and Australia.

China has claimed most of the South China Sea, an important trade route and which is believed to contain large quantities of oil and natural gas, and has been building artificial islands on reefs, some with ports and air strips, developments that have upset Asean members.

This weekend's summit between ASEAN leaders and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is "unprecedented", according to Raby: "Five, certainly 10 years ago, this would have never happened, ASEAN leaders would not have come to Australia, they would not have embraced Australia in this way".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and ten regional leaders assemble for the Leaders' Welcome during the ASEAN Special Summit in Sydney (AAP) Malcolm Turnbull delivers an address at the New Colombo Plan Reception during the summit.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar after militant attacks on August 25 sparked a crackdown led by security forces in western Rakhine state that the United Nations and United States have said constitute ethnic cleansing.

Earlier, Najib and other Asean leaders were formally welcomed by Turnbull to the summit.

Myanmar, whose de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was in Sydney, has vehemently denied the allegations.

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