Though Asia has a promising future, it must maintain its ties with big powers and lead on solving global challenges, said Singaporean and Indonesian leaders on Sunday.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were speaking at the World Economic Forum on East Asia, hosted in Indonesia. The forum, which kicked off Sunday, is focused on the theme of “Responding to New Globalisation” and will tackle issues like regional competitiveness, green growth and Asia’s leadership agenda.
“I do believe that Asia’s moment has come, and that a much brighter future lies ahead,” said Yudhoyono. “But we cannot take this for granted.”
He went on to say that Asia must address problems like energy security and global economic imbalances in order to sustain its growth.
Report & Analysis: Indonesia president hails Asia's future [AFP, 12 June 2011]
Report: Asia's moment has come: Yudhoyono [Jakarta Post, 13 June 2011]
Lee stressed the importance of maintaining ASEAN’s ties with big powers like the US, Europe, India and China. “It’s an open global economy and you cannot completely cut yourself off,” he said.
Report & Analysis: ASEAN's ties with regional & international groups developing: PM
[ChannelNewsAsia, 12 June 2011]
Lee also said that China and the US were especially important partners for the region, highlighting how the prosperity of China could bring positive effects in trade and tourism industries. “One thing that’s important is that China remains on good terms with the US,” he said. “It’s easier for us to be friends with both of them.”
Report & Analysis: Asia must stay connected to rest of world: PM, SBY [Business Times, 13 June 2011]
News Release: Indonesian and Singaporean leaders call on business to keep markets open[WEF, 12 June 2011]
Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman, echoed the need for Asia to stay connected. Schwab referred to the issue as one of “deglobalisation,” in which the global system was failing to to overcome challenges such as sustainable development and managing large capital flows.
“We need collaboration in achieving better growth, creating more jobs and reducing poverty while protecting the environment,” said Yudhoyono, suggesting that business leaders collaborate with governments and drive growth through competition.
Report & Analysis: Asia 'must lead' on global challenges [Jakarta Globe, 13 June 2011]
Energy security was also discussed. Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry director general Evita Herawati Legowo called on East Asian governments to utilise both oil-based fuels and renewable energy sources to meet rising energy demands.
Evita said that Indonesia had not entirely dismissed the potential of nuclear energy, despite the recent accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. “Nothing in the world is without risk,” she said.
Singapore-based Keppel Corporation CEO Choo Chiau-Beng emphasised the role of energy efficiency and diversification of energy sources.
Mr. Arsjad Rasjid P. Mangkuningrat, president director of Indonesian coal producer PT Indika Energy Indonesia, said that governments had to convey more accurate energy prices to people in order to underline its scarcity, suggesting that governments in Asian countries lift energy subsidies.