ASEAN leaders gather in the Philippines

South East Asian leaders are drafting plans for greater regional unity at the annual ASEAN summit on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. The event has seen increased security measures following bomb explosions.

The 10 member nations hope to finalise agreements to transform the diverse region into a tighter political bloc, with a free trade zone in place by 2015. Counter-terrorism measures, energy security, and the fight against poverty and HIV / AIDS are also on the agenda.

The talks have been underscored by a series of bomb explosions in the south of the country on Wednesday, which left seven people dead and dozens injured. More than 8,000 police and soldiers are on duty at the summit over the weekend.