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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
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