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East Asia, Latin America forum discusses economic crisis, cooperation

(Xinhua)

09:48, August 26, 2011

BUENOS AIRES, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Delegates from the 34 member countries of the Forum for East Asia and Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) met here on Thursday to discuss the challenges of world economic crisis and enhanced inter-regional cooperation and trade.

"Our countries continue to increase the mutual trade," said Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman in his opening speech, when he highlighted the "dynamism" of the forum but called on members "to define how the two regions can converge even more."

Timerman also urged the forum to adopt "concrete actions to strengthen the two regions" and emphasized the need to count on a "permanent exchange of information and intensify the dialogues between the governments, the political parties and the civil society."

FEALAC was launched in 2001 to promote cooperation between developing countries in the two regions and offer an official and regular platform for dialogue. Official sources told Xinhua that participants hope to come up with a joint statement on the global crisis, its effects and how to address the negative impact. "The global situation is complex and with obvious challenges that require national solutions, but also other challenges that cannot be resolved by the countries individually," said Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who is coordinator of the Asian region.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Kunsheng, meanwhile, called on member countries to "actively promote the reform of the world economy and the world financial system" as part of the mechanism to ease the impact of economic crisis.

On Thursday morning, the Forum voted unanimously to take in Honduras and Surinam as new member countries, bringing its total members to 36.

FEALAC is the only permanent mechanism of agreements currently existing between the two regions and draws in almost all Latin American countries.

FEALAC members account for about 40 percent of the world population, 32.5 percent of the world economy and about 30 percent of world exports. In the past 10 years, trade between East Asia and Latin America has grown four times.

The forum in Buenos Aires will also dwell on topics including cooperation in politics, science and technology, education, culture, tourism and sports.

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