Call for open markets as world leaders gather in Singapore

A joint patrol involving the RSS Independence an AH-64D Apache helicopter and a Police Coast Guard boat in the anchorage off Marina Barrage yesterday. The SAF will secure Singapore's airspace and surrounding waters during the Asean Summit

Deputy Permanent Secretary of the International Cooperation Office U Aung Kyaw Zan, said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to fly to Singapore on Monday for a four-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and related meetings, and the APEC forum.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad broke ASEAN's normally cordial protocols by telling reporters Aung San Suu Kyi was "defending the indefensible" by not speaking up for the Rohingya - hundreds of thousands of whom were driven into Bangladesh in a bloody purge past year.

Key world leaders including China's Li, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mike Pence - Donald Trump's number two - are also in Singapore for talks foreshadowed by the China-US trade war and its ripple effect on global economies, particularly in Asia.

China also hopes to come to an agreement on its ongoing trade dispute with the United States based on mutual respect and trust, Li said at a function in Singapore, adding "there are no winners in any trade war".

PM Modi, who will be in Singapore on November 14 and 15 at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee, will attend the ASEAN-India Breakfast Summit, India's High Commission in Singapore said in a statement.

Returning to the theme as the leaders sat down to dinner, he said: "Countries are becoming insular, retreating from multilateralism and globalisation, which has been the cornerstone of ASEAN peace and stability". "We are willing to negotiate with all sides to push ahead with free trade internationally, and we're also willing to discuss a fairer system". "There is a big likelihood, and we even would like to have conclusion and signing by next year as well".

The pact - which is less ambitious than the TPP in areas such as employment and environmental protection - groups the 10 ASEAN members plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

China and ASEAN agreed in August on a working text to continue long drawn-out negotiations over the code of conduct.

"The rise of trade protectionism, resurgent nationalistic movements and inward-looking policies also seem to be slowly taking place within Asean itself", he said in a keynote speech at the Asean Business and Investment Summit here.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated in July 2016 Beijing's sweeping claims in the disputed sea weeping claim and recognized the Philippines' sovereignty over the area.

Officials said the trip to the city-state is aimed at upgrading cooperative relations with ASEAN through expanding trade and people-to-people exchanges, strengthening regional crisis management capabilities and speeding up discussions on how to respond jointly to the fourth industrial revolution.

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