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ASEAN symposium in Indonesia ahead of summit in Bali

(Xinhua)

13:51, October 31, 2011

JAKARTA, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia on Monday kicked off a two day-ASEAN symposium ahead of the 19th ASEAN Summit and 6th East Asian Summit in Bali in which the outcome will be presented as a recommendation to the leaders of participating countries, officials said here.

Djauhari Oratmangun, director general for ASEAN Cooperation at the Foreign Ministry, told a press conference that the symposium is one of flagship activities initiated by Secretary General of ASEAN Surin Pitsuwan to hear perspectives from other parties about the ASEAN community building by 2015.

"The symposium is not only attended by ASEAN participants but also by other parties, notably experts from Harvard University. This will bring a good impact for the upcoming summit in Bali," said Oratmangun.

Pitsuwan said that the symposium is a regular activity of ASEAN.

"Last year we had the same format in Vietnam's Hanoi and the result was presented in the ASEAN summit that year," said Pitsuwan.

This year, he said, the challenge is how to contribute the substance of the symposium into the process to the ASEAN's deliberation in its global role and to the East Asia as the center of growth.

"Many other issues are relevant to the region, as it is more crucial in terms of global economic health and recovery. East Asia in general will be the center of growth, locomotive of growth. And, the region is be expected to contribute to recovery of European Union," said Pitsuwan.

Jon D. Mills, manager of Harvard University Asia Center, said that Harvard has a strong study of East Asia and Southeast Asia.

"Young Americans should know more about the region as they grow more important. We believe that the region has opportunity to reach its objective and we support that," said Mills.

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