A two-day summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations has begun in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
The summit was intended to discuss the reinforcement of mutual ties but is being overshadowed by recent developments in the region.
On Wednesday, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva decided to declare a state of emergency in the capital Bangkok as a result of weeks of protests against his government. The Thai prime minister has decided not to attend the summit in Hanoi.
A separate issue is the parliamentary election scheduled to be held in ASEAN member state Myanmar later this year. Many ASEAN countries are concerned whether the elections will be free and fair.