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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid