As the United States reduces its military presence overseas, many Asian nations are re-examining their own security needs and plans. At least 40 government officials and academics from across the region will meet in Manila on Thursday and Friday to consider strengthening regional security in the Pacific.
The seminar, the first of its kind, is being organized by the Philippines and Thailand, and will be followed by a second session in Bangkok in October. Recommendations ultimately may be submitted to the next summit meeting of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations.
Over the years, ASEAN has focused mostly on economic and territorial issues. But with the end of the Cold War, many in Asia fear that China, Japan or India may move to fill the vacuum created by the reduction of U.S. and Soviet forces.