Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi left Monday for a series of meetings with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China and South Korea on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Koizumi will ask his counterparts Tuesday, the first of two days of ASEAN-related summits, to create an Asian framework to crack down on weapons trade with an eye to preventing suspected North Korean missile exports in cooperation with the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative, Foreign Ministry officials said.

Specifics of such Asian cooperation will be discussed in a meeting in November of officials from the so-called “ASEAN-plus-three” grouping plus the United States and Australia, the officials said.

During the summits, the leaders are expected to exchange views on a variety of regional issues, including the North Korean nuclear standoff and Myanmar’s detention of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Koizumi will hold a trilateral meeting with the leaders of China and South Korea, and they will issue their first joint statement on further cooperation. He will also hold bilateral meetings with the two other leaders, as well as with the leaders of Indonesia and possibly Myanmar, Japanese officials said.

The trip comes amid parliamentary deliberations in Tokyo on a bill to extend Japan’s antiterrorism campaign assistance for another two years and ahead of Koizumi’s expected dissolution Friday of the House of Representatives for a general election Nov. 9.

The envisioned nonproliferation framework is aimed at preventing Asia from supplying components for North Korean missiles or passing along Pyongyang’s export of such weapons, the Foreign Ministry officials said.

Ten companies in Japan, including trading houses set up by Korean residents, tried and failed earlier this year to export to North Korea high-tech items capable of use in developing weapons of mass destruction, the officials said.

Tokyo also plans to host later this month a meeting of senior officials from China, South Korea, Hong Kong, the U.S., Australia and some ASEAN members on enhancing export controls on banned weapons, according to the officials.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.