Source: Voice of Vietnam (Viet Nam)
Source type: Radio
Published on: 04 Oct 2010
Vietnam's Deputy Foreign Minister Doan Xuan Hung stated this in an article on the threshold of ASEM 8, which takes place in the Belgian capital of Brussels on October 4-5.
With Russia, Australia and New Zealand also taking part as new members, ASEM 8 will see senior leaders, including Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and representatives of 48 nations from both continents.
ASEM – A new opportunity after 14 years
On March 2, 1996, Asian and European leaders approved for the first time in history a decision to 'build a new, comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe of mutual respect and benefit.' The establishment of ASEM reflects the aspirations of people from both continents' to promote cooperation, friendship and mutual understanding.
Up to now, ASEM has convened seven summits and has become a family of 48 states from the 26 original founding members. ASEM nations make up around 60 percent of the world population, 55 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and 65 percent of trade value.
ASEM 8 takes place at a time when the world is witnessing profound and rapid changes in the context of globalisation and restructuring of international economic and political order. Because of these new opportunities, ASEM has made an enormous effort to strengthen relations with its partners and support its members as well as achieving new status that matches with its role and strengths.
To achieve these targets, it has been agreed that ASEM 8 will focus on global issues and ways of stepping up cooperation within ASEM.
Firstly, increasing joint working when drawing up polices and reforming the international financial system and global economic administration, as well as coping with other global challenges such as climate change, natural disasters and epidemics. More cooperation on these new issues will help ASEM to play a more central role in the international community.
Secondly, seeking models of sustainable development to meet the development requirements of the member nations. This is clearly demonstrated in the bloc's efforts to build an "Asian-European strategic partnership”. With the experiences and pioneering role of many ASEM countries in the field of sustainable development, ASEM has the potential and capacity to support its members and if it succeeds, ASEM will have confirmed its prestige and relevance.
Thirdly, contributing more to global and regional cooperation frameworks, especially the United Nations, G-20, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This would help ASEM strengthen internally and raise its standing in the international area.
Lastly, increasing the efficiency of ASEM by renewing the operational methods, mechanisms, and cooperation between its members.
Vietnam and its positive contributions to ASEM
While implementing its foreign and international integration policies, Vietnam attaches a great deal of importance to ASEM, as the forum is one of the few multilateral mechanisms of which Vietnam is a founder and many of its members are leading partners of the Southeast Asian country.
Over the past 14 years, Vietnam has made many contributions to ASEM's three main pillars – politics, economics and culture. Worthy of note is Vietnam's successful hosting of the 5th ASEM Summit in 2004, the 3rd ASEM Economic Ministers' Meeting in 2001, the 9th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in 2009 and the 2nd ASEM Education Ministers' Meeting in 2009.
In its capacity as chair and host of these meetings, Vietnam put forward and adopted, together with the ASEM states, a wide range of important agreements, including the "Hanoi Declaration on a 'Closer ASEM Economic Partnership'" and the "ASEM Declaration on Dialogue between Cultures and Civilisations", which were historical milestones in the ASEM cooperation process.
Vietnam is also one of the ASEM members to take the lead in poposing initiatives for Asia-Europe cooperation. The country put forward 12 initiatives and is co-author of 16 others, covering a host of fields ranging from culture, health care, transport, energy security, science, technology, tourism and economics.
Vietnam's initiatives have been highly rated by many other ASEM members and have helped to promote cooperation within ASEM itself and serve the development needs of each member, including Vietnam.
While integrating into the global economy and developing diplomatically, Vietnam has contributed a great deal to ASEM and has confirmed its role at other regional and international forums.
In its capacity as Chair of ASEAN in 2010, Vietnam has actively contributed to the contents of the eighth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, thus lifting the bilateral partnership to a new, more practical and effective level.