At the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 2013, Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi proposed more research and exchanges on connectivity by ASEM think-tanks. During the SOM meeting held in April this year, ASEM partners agreed to have connectivity as a major topic of the upcoming 10th ASEM Summit in October. In this context, China held a two-day ASEM Think-Tank Symposium on Connectivity, entitled: Connectivity: Opportunity to Boost ASEM Cooperation.
The ASEM Think-Tank Symposium on Connectivity: Opportunity to Boost ASEM Cooperation, co-sponsored by China, European Union, Mongolia, Poland and Singapore, was held in Shanghai, China on 22-23 July 2014 under the auspices of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. Some 60 participants from 28 ASEM members shared their knowledge, experiences and visions, discussed various aspects of ASEM cooperation on connectivity. ASEM Senior Official for China Ambassador Zhang Xiaokang attended the Symposium.
At the conclusion of the Symposium, a Chair’s Summary Statement was released in which it is agreed that connectivity shall be incorporated as a priority area of cooperation in ASEM as it is poised to catalyze cooperation in broader areas and reshape landscape of ASEM.
ASEM members are called to take real actions in pushing forward ASEM connectivity which implies smoother policy communication, improved road connectivity, unimpeded trade, unrestricted flow of capital for investment and better understanding between people, etc. A regional strategy and a mechanism such as a working group within ASEM would be needed, taking on board all relevant intra-Asia regional and sub-regional connectivity initiatives. ASEM members are also encouraged to form area-specific core groups to cooperate on voluntary basis. To mobilize sufficient resources, it is recommended to expand partnership with regional, international organizations and private sectors.