HA NOI — East Asian nations needed to continue adjusting growth schemes to match the economic situation after the global financial crisis 2008-09, heard the 2012 World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia in Bangkok yesterday.
|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (second from left) at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
The forum, themed "Shaping the Region's Future through Connectivity", urged regional members to enhance their ability to cope with emerging development challenges, especially in the implementation of effective financial policies to control inflation, capital flow and price fluctuations.
It also asked for the enhancement of co-ordination in policies and actions to limit the consequences of unpredictable changes such as natural disasters and climate change.
Meanwhile, the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was asked to continue the building of an economy which ensured food security, water and energy, alongside shortening the development gap and completing the Millennium Development Goals.
Addressing the forum, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that co-operation and regional connectivity had been the main trend in East Asia with member countries the main players, especially among ASEAN nations.
Dung said that alongside the building of an ASEAN Community, ASEAN member countries had actively co-operated with partner countries in and outside the region to implement many co-operation programmes and initiatives, such as the Greater Mekong Sub-region, ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3 and the East Asia Forum.
"Such programmes and initiatives have contributed to boosting dialogues, mutual understanding and co-operation among related countries while creating favourable conditions and playing an important role in the region's development, as well as strengthening the role of East Asia in the global economic structure," he said.
"Our achievements have created many opportunities for East Asian countries to deepen regional co-operation and connectivity," he added.
The Prime Minister also warned of the challenges and difficulties facing the region.
"Global economic restructuring is occurring in the context of falling production, rising inflation, increasing public debts and fluctuating energy and food prices," Dung said.
"This has led to a need for suitable adjustments to co-operation schemes."
The Vietnamese Prime Minister shared his thoughts on enhancing co-operation and regional connectivity, such as promoting regional co-operation with ASEAN as the key player and ensuring synchronousness in regional co-operation.
He also stressed the importance on the enhancement of co-operation in the sustainable and appropriate use and management of Mekong River water for the interests of local residents and development of bordering countries, as well as in ensuring a peaceful and stable environment for development, including peace, security and free navigation in the East Sea.
The WEF attracted more than 600 delegates including country leaders, international intellectuals and business think tanks from 50 countries.
Threat of protectionism
While the forum focused on the recommendations and solutions to enhance co-operation and connectivity in East Asia as a way to boost growth and sustainable development, the head of the World Trade Organisation warned against growing Asian protectionism and said the region would not escape the impacts of economic woes across the globe.
WTO Director General Pascal Lamy acknowledged the region's relative resilience so far to economic turbulence in the eurozone and continued uncertainty in the US economic outlook.
He said that it was increasingly "interconnected with the rest of the planet and I don't think this relative immunity will be forever."
"I would expect, given what is happening in other parts of the world economy, this region to be more affected than it has been so far," he added.
Lamy said the "biggest risk" was protectionism, because of Asia's position as a major exporter to the rest of the world.
"The main risk is protectionism, and you know that it remains a serious risk, a growing risk," he said, adding that protectionist pressure had increased over the last six months.
"But more worryingly protectionist actions have intensified, and more and more governments are ceding to this pressure," he said, urging ASEAN to step up integration to insure against external shocks.
At the sideline of the WEF yesterday, Prime Minister Dung met with Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
He said that Viet Nam would enhance co-operation with Thailand based on mutual understanding and trust.
The two prime ministers agreed to boost exchanges of high-ranking delegates, ministries and localities. They also discussed the inter-cabinet meeting at the end of the year.
At a separate meeting with WEF President Klause Schwab, Dung confirmed Viet Nam's commitment to issues discussed at the forum, especially those about regional connectivity, a suitable growth model for East Asian countries and coping with development challenges.
Dung said that Viet Nam was implementing a socio-economic development strategy for 2011-20 with three breakthroughs in constitution, infrastructure and human resources, together with economic restructuring and sustainable development.
He expressed his wish that the annual WEF in future would focus more on topics which were also Viet Nam's concerns. — VNS/AFP