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9th ASEM Summit opens in Vientiane

11-05-2012 20:52 BJT Special Report:Wen Attends 9th ASEM, Visits Laos |

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By CCTV reporter Wu Haojun

The 9th Summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting is now underway in Vientiane, Laos. Premier Wen Jiabao is attending the two-day event, together with about 50 other top leaders from across Asia and Europe. This year the inclusion of three new members, Switzerland, Norway and Bangladesh is bringing the latest membership to 51. Under the theme "Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity", the meeting seeks to find solutions to a host of global challenges, including economic and security issues.

Posing for a family photo here are Asia and Europe’s top leaders whose countries collectively account for more than half of the world’s economic output.

At the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting, leaders are set to tackle a number of issues ranging from the wobbling global economy to counter-terrorism cooperation.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit is opened in Vientiane, capital of Laos,
Nov. 5, 2012, with economic and financial issues topping the agenda.
(Xinhua/Ma Ping)

But on the bilateral front, for China and the host nation Laos, the summit also serves as a good opportunity to further cement their already solid ties.

Ahead of the opening of the Asia Europe Meeting, Premier Wen had met with Lao President Choummaly Sayasone and Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong. In his talks with Thammavong, Wen Jiabao said the two countries should strengthen cooperation in such fields as agriculture, infrastructure building and satellite radio communication. And that the two should also step up coordination on security efforts on the Mekong River.

For his part, Thammavong said that Laos hopes to expand cooperation in economics, trade, culture and other fields, and to jointly combat transnational crimes with China in order to push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership of the two countries.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) shakes hands with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing
Thammavong at the inauguration ceremony of the Laos National Convention Center
in Vientiane, capital of Laos, Nov. 5, 2012. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)

In the past two decades, Chinese enterprises have invested about 3.3 billion US dollars in Laos, making China Lao’s second largest investor of all time.

And it is exactly this sort of cooperation leaders here are hoping to replicate on a even larger scale between Asia and Europe.

William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, said, "Well we understand the huge importance of the economic and political and foreign policy connections with Asia. Clearly we do in the UK we place great emphasis in particular on intensifying our relations with this ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries as well as good relations around the whole of Asia"

As Europe has yet to wake up from its debt-ridden nightmares and the once exuberant Asian economies show signs of slowing, the call for broader cooperation is ever more pressing. And here at the 9th Asia and Europe Meeting, leaders will be getting a crash course on making "friends and partners".

 

Editor:Bai Yang |Source: CCTV.com

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