News / Asia

    Leaders Assess European Economies During Asia-Europe Summit

    French President Francois Hollande (L), Bulgarian President Rosen Asenov Plevneliev (C) and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung join other leaders for the opening ceremony of the ASEM Summit in Vientiane November 5, 2012.French President Francois Hollande (L), Bulgarian President Rosen Asenov Plevneliev (C) and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung join other leaders for the opening ceremony of the ASEM Summit in Vientiane November 5, 2012.
    x
    French President Francois Hollande (L), Bulgarian President Rosen Asenov Plevneliev (C) and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung join other leaders for the opening ceremony of the ASEM Summit in Vientiane November 5, 2012.
    French President Francois Hollande (L), Bulgarian President Rosen Asenov Plevneliev (C) and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung join other leaders for the opening ceremony of the ASEM Summit in Vientiane November 5, 2012.
    Ron Corben
    Leaders and foreign ministers from Asia and Europe began negotiations Monday in the Lao capital of Vientiane ahead of formal talks focusing on strengthening economic and political ties between the two regions. The strength of Asia’s economies is a key lure for European leaders dealing with Europe's economic and financial problems.

    The summit of leaders of more than 50 Asian and European nations officially admitted new members Bangladesh, Switzerland and Norway to the Asia-Europe Meeting.

    Lao Prime Minister Thonsing Thammavong, in opening the summit at the national convention center, announced the additional three countries, marking a further expansion of the group that held its first meeting in Thailand in 1996.

    Key connections

    European and Asian heads of state attending included leaders from France, Italy and Russia, as well Presidents of the European Council and European Commission. From Asia, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao and Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda are present, but are not expected to hold meetings due to a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

    Britain’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said Europe recognized the “huge importance” of the connections with Asia.

    “Well we understand the huge importance of the economic and political and foreign policy connections with Asia," said Hague. "Clearly we do in the UK. We place great emphasis in particular on intensifying our relations with these ASEAN [Association of South East Asian Nations] countries, as well as good relations around the whole of Asia.”

    Mutually beneficial

    The biennial Asia-Europe Meeting - or ASEM - comes against the backdrop of Europe’s struggling economies faced with sharply lower growth and high unemployment rates.

    Carl Thayer, a professor of politics at the University of New South Wales, said Asia’s leaders will be looking for insights into the European economic situation.

    “This time is the state of the European economy and the prospects for its recovery because even though growth rates are picking up a bit in East Asia - a stronger European recovery would lead to stronger growth rates," said Thayer. "Finding out what’s going in the European market will be important for the leaders to determine.”

    Burma’s President Thein Sein will attend for the first time as leader but is likely to face both European and Asian leaders’ concerns over ongoing ethnic violence in Western Rakhine State.

    Violence between Buddhists and stateless Rohingya Muslims has led to dozens of deaths and up to 100,000 people displaced. The concerns stand in contrast to recent optimism over political and economic reforms - including new foreign investment laws - in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

    Spotlighting China

    China, in the midst of major leadership changes, also is a focus for Europe, said Panitan Wattanayagorn, a political scientist from Chulalongkorn University.

    “The rise of China; several European nations have been lately showing interest and concern of the rise of China - whether or not China will be more responsible in the economy of the world and political role of the world. So there will be more dialogue on these issues also,” said Wattanayagorn.

    European nations are expected to raise concerns over issues of human rights in China and especially ongoing protests in Chinese controlled Tibet, where there has been a sharp rise in self immolations over the past year in protest of China’s rule.

    Analysts say European leaders also are keen, however, to strengthen trade and investment ties with Asia and especially China, in a bid to lift their troubled, faltering economies out of recession.

    You May Like

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    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 Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    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.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora