Prayuth Chan-ocha greets during the opening ceremony of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha greets during the opening ceremony of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

BANGKOK — Southeast Asian foreign ministers have opened their annual meeting with a call from host Thailand for deeper cooperation to expand trade and bolster prosperity in the region amid rising global challenges.

The meeting comes in the shadows of rising security tension on the Korean Peninsula, China’s aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea and the U.S.-China trade war.

Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai told colleagues in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations they must be more agile amid increasing nationalism globally.

Don said “looking inward and being myopic” is not an option and ASEAN must choose to expand links through the free flow of trade. He said the road ahead could be treacherous but greater cooperation among ASEAN members and outside partners could help sustain long-term growth.