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EU President urges trade to halt Asia-Pacific militarisation
by Staff Writers
Zurich (AFP) Nov 9, 2011

The Asia-Pacific region is showing signs of militarisation that could lead to an arms race, EU President Herman Van Rompuy warned Wednesday, calling for closer trade ties to defuse any political tensions.

"Whereas Europe used to be the most dangerous continent in the past century... the focus of security analysts and hard power strategic planners has recently moved towards developments in Asia and the Pacific," said Van Rompuy in a speech at the University of Zurich.

"They do not yet observe a full-blown arms race, but in terms of military spending and confrontational psychology, the premises of an arms race are there," he added, without naming individual countries.

"It will thus be key to continue deepening economic relationships within that region, so as to make a war as it were 'materially impossible'," added Van Rompuy.

Noting that the EU is a key trading partner to major economies in the region, the EU Council President said Brussels "does not only have a significant stake in regional stability, but itself is a potential major factor contributing to this stability."

This fact "should also be reflected in higher political attention paid to and political activity shown in the region," he added.

Obama to meet key leaders on Pacific tour
Washington (AFP) Nov 9, 2011 - US President Barack Obama will hold separate talks in Hawaii on Saturday with the leaders of China, Russia and Japan, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Officials said Obama would discuss key issues with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda before hosting the summit in his native state.

Obama will also hold a set of talks with key powers in South and Southeast Asia when he moves onto the East Asia summit in Bali on Friday, November 18, said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor.

The president will sit down with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and for the first time meet Philippine President Benigno Aquino and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Obama leaves Washington Friday to host the weekend APEC summit in Hawaii, before making an overnight stop in Australia and then heading to the East Asia summit -- which he will become the first US president to attend.

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US Pacific fleet commander warns of tactical missteps
Hong Kong (AFP) Nov 9, 2011
The US Seventh Fleet commander said Wednesday he was not worried about a major conflict in Asia but about small incidents with unpredictable consequences in areas such as the South China Sea. Vice Admiral Scott Swift said military-to-military dialogue between Washington and Beijing was taking place at the highest levels of command and both sides shared a desire to minimise tensions. "I t ... read more

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