The Latest on the meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (all times local):

10:15 a.m.

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman has skipped key meetings of the Association of Southeast Nations this week in the Laotian capital with no explanation other than "urgent matters' at home.

Anifah Aman was represented by his ministry's secretary-general, Othman Hashim, in talks Sunday and early Monday.

A ministry, who did not want to be identified, said Anifah "at the moment is not attending as he has urgent matters to attend to." Another Malaysian official in Vientiane said Anifah is dealing with "pressing matters at home," and that Othman will lead the Malaysian delegation.

Anifah's absence is striking because Malaysia is one of the claimants in the dispute with China in the South China Sea, which has dominated talks at this year's ASEAN foreign minister's talks.

Anifah's name was in the official list of attendees released by host Laos, and the Malaysian government issued a statement on Friday saying Anifah will lead the Malaysian delegation in the series of meetings in Laos from Saturday to Tuesday. This indicated that his absence was a last-minute development.

It was not clear if it had anything to do with a growing scandal at home involving Prime Minister Najib Razak and a state investment fund from which $3.5 billion was stolen, allegedly with collusion of people close to Najib.

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9:30 a.m.

Thailand's foreign minister says he and his counterparts from nine other Southeast Asian countries did not discuss the contentious issue of China's expansionist moves in the South China Sea at an emergency meeting they had called to resolve a deadlock on the issue.

Don Pramudwinai says the ministers, however, decided to issue a joint communique, which had been held up because of disunity among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Speaking to reporters Monday after the emergency meeting, Don refused to say if the communique will contain a reference to South China Sea and China's disputes with four ASEAN members.

"You will read it," he said.

ASEAN has wanted to chastise China in its joint communique but has been unable to because of Cambodia, a close China ally. ASEAN can only issue statements if there is a consensus among all its members

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said cryptically: "It's very positive ... We are very much on track" to release the communique. She also would not say if the communique would refer to the South China Sea, or the decision of an international tribunal earlier this month that said China's expansive claims in the region are illegal.

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9 a.m.

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman has skipped key meetings of the Association of Southeast Nations this week in the Laotian capital, and the government has given no explanation.

Anifah Aman was represented by his ministry's secretary-general, Othman Hashim, in talks Sunday and early Monday.

His absence is striking because Malaysia is one of the claimants in the dispute with China in the South China Sea, which has dominated talks at this year's ASEAN foreign minister's talks.

A Laotian official told The Associated Press that Anifah "will not attend the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting this year, probably because of a tight schedule." The Malaysian delegation will be led by Othman, he says.

Anifah's name was in the official list of attendees released by host Laos, and the Malaysian government issued a statement on Friday saying Anifah will lead the Malaysian delegation in the series of meetings in Laos from Saturday to Tuesday.

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8 a.m.

Foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries began arriving at a convention center for an unscheduled last-ditch attempt to hammer a consensus on how to deal with China's territorial expansion in the South China Sea.

The ministers of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations met over three sessions on Sunday without result, thanks to Cambodia's intransigence over allowing the grouping to chastise China. They decided to meet again on Monday morning ahead of their scheduled meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

China's disputes with four ASEAN countries — the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei — has become a major diplomatic and potential security problem for the region. China has rejected a recent international tribunal verdict that says its claim over the entire South China Sea, which it asserts on historical grounds, is illegal.