Asian and Western powers boycott North Korea

The hastily arranged meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' Regional Forum in Malaysia had been meant to draw in North Korea in hopes of discussing the military regime's nuclear and missile programs after it abandoned formal six-party talks in November.

Hours before the meeting, however, North Korea rejected the talks and threatened to pull out of the Regional Forum if the body issued a joint statement condemning Pyongyang's missile tests earlier this month.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the foreign ministers of other nations involved in stalled six-party talks - South Korea, Japan and Russia, were present.

The meeting started without China's foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, who was delayed by a meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Paek Nam Sun.

Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, Australia and New Zealand also attended the Friday talks, the AP reports.

Meanwhile, hundreds of anti-U.S. protesters challenged riot police at the entrance of the convention hall where the talks were being held.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team