The 10th Annual ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting began in Godollo, Hungary on Monday, with the theme of “Working Together on Non-Traditional Security Challenges.”
The grouping includes forty-six nations from Asia and Europe, and represents half of the world’s population and 60% of its GDP.
The meeting will touch on issues of regional and global importance. Food and energy security top the list of topics for discussion, but also up for debate are organized crime, piracy, natural disasters and the uprisings taking place across the Arab world, dubbed the “Arab Spring.”
There is also expected to be some mention of the pending IMF Chief appointment; specifically, the friction rumbling throughout the developing world as a result of the European bid to once again place a European, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, in the top seat. “This is an area of great importance,” said Indian Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna.
Report and Analysis: Food, energy security on table at big Europe-Asia meet [AFP, 6 June 2011]
"Our ASEM dialogue reflects the importance of the solid engagement between the EU and Asia," said Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, before the meeting on Monday.
"Our aim is to foster political dialogue, reinforce economic cooperation and promote cultural cooperation between Asia and Europe," Ashton added.
Report & Analysis: Asia-Europe FMs meet over non-traditional challenges [Xinhua, 7 June 2011]
Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto called for greater international cooperation in responding to nuclear disasters and enhanced nuclear safety standards.
"We have to employ the highest safety standards in nuclear energy, and also step up work on renewable energy," he said.
"We also have to use fossil resources in an environmentally friendly way."
Report & Analysis: Japan seeks enhanced cooperation in response to nuclear accidents [Mainichi Daily News, 7 June 2011]
The South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan also asked the ASEM member states to show more support Seoul’s North Korea policy.
Report: Kim Calls for ASEM Members’ Support Behind N. Korea Policy [Arirang News, 7 June 2011]
A presidential statement from the conference is expected on Tuesday.
ASEM was established in 1996 at the first summit in Bangkok, Thailand. It is an interregional forum which consists of 46 countries and two international organizations.
The members are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China PR, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, the European Commission and ASEAN Secretariat.