Six member countries said Saturday that they were ready to accept Communist Vietnam into ASEAN, the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations.
Foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Brunei said at their annual meeting that they were ready to admit Vietnam but gave no details on how or when it would happen.
But sources say the target date for Hanoi's membership would likely be formalized by the ASEAN leaders' summit next year in Thailand. "There is no sticking point involved. The main question is what are the procedures," a senior ASEAN diplomat said.
On Monday, ASEAN will begin a three-day forum on regional security issues.