Asia-Europe Meeting kicks off with focus on multilateralism

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Nov 25 (EFE).- The 13th summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) kicked off Thursday by videoconference from Phnom Penh with a focus on multilateralism to boost economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the theme “Strengthening multilateralism for shared growth,” this biennial meeting – celebrating its 25th anniversary – brought together leaders from Europe and Asia after the summit scheduled for last year was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For more than 25 years, the Asia-Europe Meeting has been the most comprehensive partnership between Asia and Europe. It has helped us tackle some of the big challenges of the day. Now, in the years to come, this partnership will be even more important to recover from the pandemic,” said European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen in her inaugural address.

Von der Leyen stressed on the need to “strengthen multilateralism” to “rebuild a more sustainable and equitable world” given that Asia and Europe are “closely connected.”

“As ASEM partners, we represent 55% of global trade, 60% of the global population and 65% of the global gross domestic product. Both of our regions benefit enormously from each other,” she underlined.

The EC president also recalled that ASEM was key to the EU for promoting “a rules-based international system” that encourages cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The first ASEM summit was held in Bangkok 25 years ago and since then these meetings have alternated between Asia and Europe on a biennial basis: London (1998), Seoul (2000), Copenhagen (2002), Hanoi (2004), Helsinki (2006), Beijing (2008), Brussels (2010), Vientiane (2012), Milan (2014), Ulan Bator (2016) and Brussels (2018).

ASEM was formed, on a proposal from Singapore, under the principles of equality, respect and mutual benefit, with the aim of turning dialog into an open forum in search of greater political, economic and cultural cooperation. EFE


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