Kofi Annan heads to Austria, South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand

Secretary-General Kofi Annan heads to Austria this week and then to Asia where he will meet the leaders of South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand.

In Vienna on Friday, he is expected to deliver a keynote address at the opening session of the summit of of leaders from the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean, U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

On Saturday, Annan heads to Asia with Seoul as the first stop. He is expected to meet the president, foreign minister and National Assembly speaker and take part in a question and answer session at Seoul National University, she said.

His next stop is Tokyo, from May 16-19, where he plans to deliver a speech at Tokyo University. He will also met top government officials and leaders of the Global Compact, a voluntary agreement established in 2000 by the U.N. to promote human rights, good labor practices, environmental protection and anti-corruption standards for businesses.

The secretary-general then travels to Beijing from May 19-23 where he will also met senior government officials and students at Beijing University, Okabe said.

Annan's fifth stop is Hanoi, from May 23-25, where he expects to meet the president, prime minister and general-secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, she said.

His final stop is in Bangkok on May 26-27 where he will address a high-level panel on human development, meet senior government officials, and have an audience with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Okabe said, reports the AP.

I.L.

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