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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More