ASEM talks begin amid economic crisis

October 24th, 2008 - 9:32 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

By Naveen Kapoor
Beijing, Oct 24 (ANI): European and Asian leaders began the first closed session of the seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Beijing, hoping for a coordinated response to the economic crisis.
During the two-day sessions, involving 27 European Union member states and 16 Asian countries, a variety of issues like -economic cooperation, climate change and development would be discussed.
However, the current world financial crisis will be top priority on the agenda for the two continents. Talks taking place on the sidelines of the meeting on Thursday and Friday morning have already seen Asian and EU countries looking to host China for hope amidst the economic turmoil.
On Friday, the ASEAN group of Southeast Asian States agreed at talks with Japan, China and South Korea to upgrade a long-established 80 billion U.S. dollar (USD) web of currency swap lines among central banks in the region.
The European Union wants China, with the world’’s biggest hoard of currency reserves and the world’’s fastest-growing major economy, to help shape global financial reforms and tackle the economic imbalances, which is at the root of the present turmoil.
Besides the current global financial crisis, the leaders would also discuss food security and global warming issues.
Earlier, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he wants the gathering to make a commitment of seeking a new climate change and greenhouse gas reduction pact at key talks in Copenhagen later next year.
The current Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk while hoping for an alliance with China in the global climate talks, said both countries could collaborate to ensure that greenhouse gases doesn”t harm their economies.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who is also in Beijing to attend the seventh Asia Europe Summit (ASEM), had a bilateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
The purpose of the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting, launched 12 years ago, is to narrow the diplomatic distance between the two continents accounting for 60 per cent of global output and two-thirds of world trade. (ANI)

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