SPEECH BY H.E. MR. NGUYEN TAN DUNG, PRIME MINISTER OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 9TH ASEM FOREIGN MINISTERS’ MEETING
Ladies and gentlemen,
After the 5th ASEM Summit in October 2004, it is once again a great honour for Viet Nam to host the 2nd ASEM Education Ministers’ Meeting and now the 9th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting this May. On behalf of the Government and people of Vietnam, I would like to warmly welcome Foreign Ministers and heads of delegation of all ASEM members as well as all delegates and distinguished guests to the 9th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi.
In the last two decades, the world has witnessed profound and far-reaching changes. Asia and Europe, once the cradle of humankind civilisation are undergoing unprecedented changes with a strong emergence of various nations and cooperation arrangements at different levels, making great contributions to peace, cooperation and development. Asia continues to be the most dynamic region while Europe experiences enormous progress in its integration. The inception of ASEM in 1996 not only fills in a ‘missing link’ in international relations, but more importantly, it shows the determination of the people of Asia and Europe to forge a partnership between the two continents for the benefits of ASEM members and for more effective contributions to new international relations.
Taking 13 years of ASEM in retrospect, we can be proud of our achievements in various fields. ASEM has become an important forum for Asia-Europe dialogue and cooperation. Its membership has been increased and cooperation deepened and expanded in different areas. Today, ASEM represents 58% of the world population, 50% of global GDP and 60% of global trade. Three of the P5 at the UN Security Council and 10 of G20 are ASEM members while many others play an important role in international institutions, e.g. the WTO, OECD, the World Bank or the IMF, etc.
This ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting takes place at a time when the economic and financial crisis is causing huge losses that push the world into an extremely difficult and uncertain period. While managing to deal with the negative political, economic and social impacts of the crisis, we are at the same time facing numerous global challenges, namely climate change, pandemics, energy security and terrorism in particular... which affect not only the life of more than 6.7 billion people on earth but our future generations as well. In this context, we should coordinate our actions to overcome this difficult time.
In the recent years, apart from the enormous individual efforts by each country, many Governments have been actively cooperating in multilateral frameworks to find measures to respond to common challenges regionally and globally. The success of the G20 Summit, the ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers’ Meeting as well as the positive outcomes of other forums like the Boao Forum in China and the International Conference on ‘The Future of Asia’ in Japan are the important landmarks of regional and global cooperation.
Against this backdrop, with its own role and strength, ASEM should put forth concrete and practical actions instead of simply being a forum for exchange of views. Many questions are posed in front of us. First, whether the current international situation requires us not only to work closer with each other but also to build up a new and more sustained economic and financial system to assist international efforts in reviving the world economy and addressing global issues? Second, what should be done by ASEM to improve the effectiveness of its cooperation and its international position? I believe that under the theme of ‘Forging a Closer Asia-Europe Partnership to Address the Financial and Economic Crisis and Other Global Challenges,’ FMM 9 will send out a strong message on the determination and responsibility of ASEM members to work together in overcoming this crisis, effectively responding to the global challenges and actively contributing to the common efforts of the international community.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Like other countries in the region, Vietnam is suffering from the impacts of the global economic and financial crisis and facing numerous difficulties and challenges. However, with strong determination, our Government and people have taken comprehensive and appropriate measures to maintain macro-economic stability and safety of the credit system. Inflation was under control and growth sustained at 6.2% in 2008 and 3.1% in the first quarter of 2009. Social security and the people’s life were improved while social and political stability was preserved. In 2009, economic growth is expected to be around 5% and higher in the following years. In any circumstances, Vietnam is determined to step up her international integration and the hosting of FMM 9 is just a testimony to that determination and to Vietnam’s foreign policy of true friendship, reliable partnership, active and responsible membership of the international community.
As a founding member, and equally an active and responsible partner of ASEM, Vietnam has made active contributions to the ASEM process and participated not only in the political dialogue and economic cooperation but also in other areas, particularly culture, education and health. We successfully hosted the 5th ASEM Summit and many other events, and proposed practical initiatives to ASEM. Vietnam is also very proud of significant progress that has been made in its bilateral relations with other Asian and European members who are now strategic and leading partners of Viet Nam in the economic, trade, investment, development cooperation, educational and training areas. With enormous potentials and opportunities for cooperation, we are confident that the cooperation between Vietnam and other ASEM partners will continue to expand, making contributions to a more substantive and effective cooperation between Asia and Europe.
I would like to conclude my statement with firm confidence that, in facing the afore-mentioned challenges, ASEM will seize available opportunities to strengthen cooperation to make our dreams come true for the sake of development and prosperity of each member as well as for peace, stability, cooperation and development of our two continents and of the world as a whole. Those opportunities are within our reach, ladies and gentlemen.
I wish you all good health and happiness!
May the FMM 9 be a great success!
Thank you very much./.
(Hanoi, 25 May 2009)
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