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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora