Asia, Europe to work closer to deal with non-traditional challenges

08:33, June 08, 2011      

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Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi (R) and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith attend the press conference after the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) for foreign ministers in central Hungarian town of Godollo, June 7, 2011. The two-day meeting concluded here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi)

Asian and European foreign ministers on Tuesday reached an agreement here to cooperate closer in dealing with the non-traditional security challenges.

In a Chairs' Statement, participants of the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers, held in Godollo near Budapest, agreed on the need for closer ties between Asia and Europe as well as common responses to transnational issues with serious implications for the prosperity, security and stability of both regions.

The global economic crisis and the recent disasters in Japan were proof of both Asia and Europe's dependency on each other, said Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi, also one of the chairmen of the session, at a press conference after the conclusion of the meeting.

The meeting focused on the diversity of non-traditional security challenges faced by both Asia and Europe, including threats posed by climate change, food, energy and water shortages, nuclear safety, cyber security, maritime security, as well as terrorism and transnational organized crime activity.

"We are all interdependent on each other, but the impacts of the financial crises and natural and man-made disasters in Japan don't stop at borders," Martonyi said.

The minister added that "ASEM is the right forum to discuss such issues."

Ministers agreed that the ASEM meeting, held every two years since 1996, was a broad-based and effective forum for cooperation and partnership between Asia and Europe.

Thongloun Sisoulith, the Laotian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the meetings achieved progress in consensus regarding the future direction of the 3 pillars -- political, economic, and socio-cultural -- of ASEM cooperation.

"ASEM partners have reaffirmed their determination and commitment to enhance their relations and work closely to address the common challenges," Sisoulith said.

Forty-six countries in total were represented in Godollo, including 27 from the EU and 19 from Asia. The ASEM partners represent over half of the global population, comprise over 60 percent of world trade and account for more than half of global gross domestic product.

The next ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting is scheduled to take place in India in 2013, while an ASEM 9 summit will be held in Vientiane, Laos in 2012.

Source: Xinhua
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