ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting: Explosions rock Bangkok as top politicians meet
Updated 20:58, 02-Aug-2019
Bombs rocked the Thai capital Bangkok sparking a security alert as some of the world's leading politicians were attending a series of meetings. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among those at the event. But as CGTN's Martin Lowe reports, business continued without interruption.
A number of explosions took place at a range of locations across Bangkok. One was near a government complex, two were close to a commuter train network.
The blasts came as a week of events around an ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting were concluding.
The explosions caused only minor damage – and were not near the ASEAN venue, though two hoax bombs were discovered close to the meeting place. More devices that failed to explode were recovered.
Four people were reported injured, some by flying glass. Police asked people to be vigilant but not panic.
Inside the ASEAN hall, meetings carried on as normal. ASEAN usually avoids controversy but strong words were exchanged by South Korea and Japan.
South Korea said it was unhappy at new restrictions imposed by Japan on the supply of Japanese raw materials needed in South Korean manufacturing. It stems from a continuing row over compensation for Japanese actions during World War Two.
KANG KYUNG-WHA SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER "We are gravely concerned by this decision to say the least. This is coming in the footsteps of an earlier decision that restricts some key export items to Korea."
TARO KONO JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER "Japan's necessary and legitimate review of its export control is fully compatible with a free trade regime."
ASEAN and six of its partner countries pledged to push forward on a major trade deal – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – which would form the world's largest trading bloc. Many see it as a buffer against events like the US-China trade war.
China reported progress on Belt and Road projects and a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.
WANG YI CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER "We must uphold multilateralism and focus on regional cooperation, development, and prosperity."
The US presented a new investment strategy for the Indo-Pacific, but said it wasn't asking ASEAN nations to "choose sides" between China and the US.
MARTIN LOWE BANGKOK "Though small-scale the explosions may have been designed to capitalize on publicity generated by this ASEAN meeting. Police have doubled the number of officers on duty – but the work of the politicians gathered here has continued unaffected. Martin Lowe, CGTN, Bangkok."