ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting opens in Hanoi

The 9th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (FMM 9) opened in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, on May 25.

The meeting drew the participation of the ASEAN General Secretary, Surin Pitsuwan, representatives from the EC and more than 400 delegates from 45 members of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

Delegates at the 9th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi pose for photo May 25

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that FMM 9 takes place at a time when the global financial crisis is bringing about great losses and plunging the world into a very difficult and unstable period.

“We are coping with the adverse impacts caused by the crisis in terms of politics, the economy and society, as well as various global challenges, particularly climate change, epidemics, energy security and terrorism,” he said.

The PM stressed that these issues pose a challenge not only to the 6.7 billion people in the world, but also to the younger generations, adding that this requires a concerted effort from the global community to overcome the current difficulties together.

In that context, the ASEM, with its role and strength, should not only serve as a forum to exchange viewpoints, but also should take specific and practical actions, said the government leader.

PM Dung went on to say that as one of the founding members, Vietnam has always cared about and made a positive contribution to the ASEM. Vietnam has participated actively and responsibly in ASEM, not only in political dialogue and economic cooperation, but also in other fields such as culture, education and health care.

Vietnam successfully hosted the fifth ASEM Summit (ASEM 5) and many other important conferences and forums and has put forward several practical initiatives to the ASEM.

The PM noted with pleasure the outcomes of cooperation within the ASEM framework, saying that many ASEM members are now strategic and leading partners with Vietnam in economics, trade, investment, development cooperation, education and training.

“With such a huge potential for cooperation and many new opportunities, we believe that Vietnam’s relationship with ASEM members will continue to develop strongly, helping to foster cooperation between Asia and Europe and encourage dialogue in a lively, practical and effective manner,” he emphasized.

This is the first meeting of foreign ministers since the ASEM increased its membership from 39 to 45.

During the course of the two-day meeting, the delegates will discuss a wide range of issues, including measures to strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation to cope with the world economic crisis, global challenges and the future of the ASEM.

Source: Vietnam News Agency, local media

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