News / Asia

Asian, European Leaders Vow to Promote Free Trade

European and Asian leaders take part in the closing ceremony for the ASEM Summit in Vientiane, Laos, November 6, 2012.
European and Asian leaders take part in the closing ceremony for the ASEM Summit in Vientiane, Laos, November 6, 2012.
Ron Corben
Asian and European leaders say China’s economy is pivotal to the global economic recovery and are pledging to boost international free trade. Meeting in the Laotian capital Vientiane, they warned of “substantial” uncertainties in the global economy, but vowed to promote free trade and renounce protectionism.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) expressed hope Europe would gradually recover from its deep recession and move towards sustainable and balanced growth.  Key European leaders included those from France, Italy and Russia, as well as the European Commission, with Asia’s representatives led by key economic drivers, China, Japan and Indonesia.

Analysts say the meeting, which closed Tuesday and involved more than 50 countries, was marked by China’s heightened role as a source of trade and investment for the beleaguered European economies.

A political scientist at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, says China is viewed as playing a key role in European recovery.

“We need to rely on China to drive the world economy forward and thereby pull the Eurozone economies along.  That is why there has been some accommodation, a lot of interest in China, and in the end money counts.  The Europeans are in crisis, they need the Chinese economy, they need the Chinese macro-economic numbers and currency reserves to pull them out of this crisis," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak.

Earlier, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said he is confident in China’s outlook, but also called for free, open and fair international trade, and a sound system of global economic governance.   Premier Wen was upbeat over a new comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe.

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak says the European countries hope to see China “rebalance” its economy.

“If you talk to this part of the world they see China as a very strong, benign economic force.  But in terms of the debate, I think there is a general feeling amongst European countries, there is a need for China to rebalance its economy, less emphasis on export, but provide more domestic demand.  I think there is a gentle hint about the need to rebalance its economy," said Razak.

A major change in China’s leadership takes place this week during the Chinese Communist Party congress.

Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose government recently called for closer ties with Asia, said China has shown a willingness to play a greater role on the global economic stage, including through the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"I think there is a role for China to play in the global efforts to enhance growth and jobs, and China has been involved in those discussions at the G20 table.  It has been involved in, and active on, issues like IMF resourcing.  So what further it chooses to do, obviously I will leave to the leaders of China to speak about," said Gillard.

The more than 50 nations, which account for about half of global economic output, have largely focused on economic and financial issues as well as global security.  It was the ninth meeting of the group that first convened in Thailand in 1996.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid