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Malaysian PM calls for greater cooperation among Asian countries to tackle challenges


08:25, June 04, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Monday called on Asian countries to strengthen cooperation in face of major challenges which might hamper the growth and development in the region.

Speaking at the 27th Asia-Pacific Roundtable meeting, which started here Monday, Najib said the focus of the world is shifting toward Asia, accentuated by recent financial crisis in the West.

"Nor is it strictly a diplomatic phenomenon: it is matched with surging inflows of capital and resources, as Asian nations attract bright minds and big money," he said.

Meanwhile, Najib outlined climate change, regional conflicts and finding a path of inclusive and sustainable development as three major challenges facing Asia.

"These challenges -- of development, sustainability and conflict -- are closely connected. They must each be net if Asia is to fulfill the promise of this century," he said.

"In each case, I believe we must deepen our commitment to cooperation. I believe Asian states will proper by strengthening their connections, not just to each other, but to the wider world. "

On climate change, which Najib described as the "greatest" of all challenges, he warned against not only the changing weather patterns but also the subsequent new stresses on water, food and security systems.

He than proceeded to the potential conflicts in the region, urging that "Asia must place its trust in diplomatic solutions" when confronted with complex disagreements between states.

"Our final challenge, then, is to ensure Asia's development brings economic opportunity for all, not riches for a few; that it expands not just nominal GDP figures, but also critical social infrastructure," he added.

The three-day Asia-Pacific Roundtable, with the theme " Strategizing Change in Asia," will see senior officials, diplomats, policy-makers and academics from all over the region discuss a wide range of issues.

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