Amid discord on climate change policy, ministers from Asia - including India's - met European Union members in the German port of Hamburg for talks on world crises.
The two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of 43 nations Monday was marked by a division between European countries seeking deep cuts in world carbon-dioxide emissions and Asian governments countering that they did not cause global warming. ASEM is held every two years. India, Pakistan and Mongolia are attending for the first time.
An estimated 4,000 protesters who marched toward the summit venue in a dry run for next month's demonstrations at the G8 economic summit were stopped at a police cordon several streets from the venue. Hundreds of militants from the crowd later clashed with riot police, who used water cannons against protestors and made dozens of arrests.
"We in the Asia-Europe Meeting represent about 50 percent of gross domestic product, 58 percent of the global population and 60 percent of international trade," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in remarks to open the first round of ASEM talks in a Hamburg hotel.
The three working sessions Monday and Tuesday were to cover issues ranging from crises with Iran and North Korea to anti-terrorism policies.
Monday in Hamburg, Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win defended his government's one-year extension of house arrest for Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, telling Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso it had been "a very difficult decision."
A Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Win had explained that the Myanmar military junta had been concerned with both "political stability" and negative reactions from the international community.
Earlier, after an advance meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Steinmeier said that he remained hopeful that agreement on emissions reductions could be reached with China before a wPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
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