Lee stresses Asia-Europe partnership on global challenges

14 October 2014

Source: Yonhap News Agency (Korea, Republic of)
Source type: Newspaper
Published on: 05 Oct 2010

BRUSSELS, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Monday emphasized the importance of a partnership between Asia and Europe to "improve the quality of life" and solicited support for Seoul's plan to host a G-20 summit in November, as leaders from the two continents opened a two-day meeting in Brussels.


Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, Lee said closer cooperation between Asia and Europe will inject vigor into the troubled world economy and eventually contribute to improvement in the quality of life, the main topic of this year's session.

Under the theme of "Quality of Life: Achieving greater well-being and more dignity for all citizens," participants in the biennial event are focusing on the world economy, governance, sustainable development, climate change and other global issues as well as regional security conditions and the future of the ASEM.

Concerns have grown that this year's meeting may be overshadowed by foreign exchange and territorial rows among major countries.

Lee said Asia and Europe should work together to resolve the problems and enhance the quality of life globally.

"This is why the ASEM summit we open today has special importance," Lee said. "Asia and Europe will be able to achieve a win-win situation by working closely within the framework of ASEM."

The ASEM, launched in 1996, is a major multilateral consultation channel between the two continents, involving virtually the whole of Asia and Europe. The 48 ASEM members and partners represent half of the world's gross domestic product and around 60 percent of global trade.

"The two continents should try to consummate good governance by harmoniously dealing with common tasks as well as whatever differences they may have," Lee said.

Addressing the first session later on the world economy governance, Lee elaborated on key agenda items in the upcoming G-20 meeting.

"At the Seoul summit, countries will take stock of the progress that has been made in what was discussed at previous summits and discuss additional agenda initiatives such as the global financial safety net and the issue of development," he said.

He said issues to be discussed include ways to establish a framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, to reform the global financial system and reallocate the quota of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"We hope to have the adjustment of IMF quota completed by the Seoul G-20 summit," he said.

On efforts to reduce a development gap between advanced and poor nations, the president said, the Seoul meeting is expected to produce a multi-year action plan.

As leader of South Korea, Lee delivered the address as one of four coordinators for this year's ASEM session, along with Cambodia, Belgium and the European Commission.

Lee had a series of bilateral talks with his Japanese and Australian counterparts on the sideline of the ASEM session.

In a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Lee urged Tokyo to take substantial measures to follow though on his Aug. 10 statement offering an apology for Japan's atrocious 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea and promising to return ancient royal texts rooted in the era.

Lee and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard agreed to make efforts to complete ongoing talks on a free trade agreement as early as possible.

-From Yonhap News Agency