Sea dispute in ASEAN meetings

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Alarm over North Korea’s missile tests, a tentative step to temper South China Sea disputes, and unease over a disastrous siege by pro-Islamic State group militants will grab the spotlight at annual meetings of Southeast Asia’s top diplomats and their Asian and Western counterparts.

The 27 nations participating in three days of talks and photo-ops in Manila starting Saturday include the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and South and North Korea.

The Philippines is host as this year’s chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. It’s an unwieldy 10-nation collective of democracies, monarchies and authoritarian regimes founded half a century ago.