[COMMENTARY] Building on 20 years of ASEM: Expanding Connectivity and Inclusion

4 December 2015

By Mr Ch. SAIKHANBILEG, Prime Minister of Mongolia

This article is part of the ASEM 20th Anniversary Publication on “Celebrating 20 Years of Asia-Europe Relations”. The publication is a collection of articles by leaders and experts from Asia and Europe on the past, present and future of ASEM. Selected articles from this collection will be compiled and published as a book by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), which will be launched at the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM11) in 2016 in Mongolia.

The 20th Anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is a fitting opportunity to reflect both on its past, present and future as well as on the evolving connectivity between Asia and Europe, the world’s two ancient cradles of civilisations that have contributed greatly to humanity’s development and prosperity.

ASEM’s coming into being was a natural response to the dramatic changes in the global political and economic landscape in the mid-1990s following the end of the Cold War, at a time when Asia was emerging as a world economic powerhouse. ASEM with its distinct signature was an outcome consistent with the time.

Twenty years is a short span of time in human history, and yet the global and regional settings today are already fundamentally different from what they were two decades ago. In spite of the challenges of rapid change, ASEM has withstood the test of time. Partly to the credit of ASEM dialogue and initiatives, Asia and Europe today enjoy much wider connectivity and greater engagement than 20 years ago.

Aspiring to make her own contribution to Asia-Europe engagement and to be a part of this multifaceted dialogue process, Mongolia joined ASEM in 2008. As Prime Minister of Mongolia and Head of the National Preparatory Council for the 2016 ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar, with great pride and responsibility, I am happy to inform that Mongolia is diligently preparing for this grand event. I take this opportunity to convey our sincere gratitude to ASEF and all ASEM partners who have been rendering valuable support and assistance in the summit preparations.

Excerpted from "The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM): A Bridge between East and West", published by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).