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Future of Europe, Asia tops World Knowledge Forum opening

Update: October, 11/2016 - 16:59
Viet Nam News

SEOUL Europe’s post-Brexit future, and the East Asian ramifications of next month’s US presidential election, dominated today’s opening ceremony of the 17th World Knowledge Forum, the largest business conference in Asia.

Gerhard Schroder, former Prime Minister of Germany, said this morning that Europe is facing a period of uncertainty and that the bloc must grow economically and politically to cope. He insisted international cooperation would be more crucial than ever in dealing with global challenges and conflicts. Core members of the EU Germany and France will have to play a crucial role in leading the EU toward solving regional issues, especially the refugee crisis, he said. 

Regarding the US election next month, many politicians and think-tanks at the forum shared the view that there would be tremendous consequences on Asia if Donald Trump were elected.

For the first time in 80 years, Trump, a candidate for the American presidency has come out in opposition to free trade and has threatened to remove American support from key allies in Europe and East Asia. He has openly called for protectionist barriers that could lead to trade wars. Analysts say what Trump is advocating an affront to two cardinal tenets of postwar US foreign policy: supporting free trade and internationalism.

However, former US Vice President Dick Cheney—mastermind of a hawkish and disruptive foreign policy during his office term from 2001 to 2009insisted he would support his Republican Party’s candidate in hope of bringing about changes that were not achieved during the Obama’s administration.

Wendy Sherman, former US Under Secretary for Political Affairs, expressed her support for Hilary Clinton, saying the US’s foreign policy toward Asia would remain on track if Clinton were elected.

“Clinton was the architect of the Asia pivot when she was the US Secretary of State, so she would enhance the US engagement in the Asian region and focus on strengthening US alliances, especially South Korea and Japan,” Sherman told the forum.

She also highlighted Clinton’s interest in deepening understanding with Southeast Asia, particularly Viet Nam and Myanmar, as well as the presidential candidate’s support of a peaceful resolution to contentious issues in Asia such as the South China Sea [also known as the East Sea] conflict between China and a number of ASEAN countries.

The 17th World Knowledge Forum, with about 250 speakers from all over the world, aims to share insights on numerous key issues in the next two days, including the ASEAN Economic Community, the future of One Asia, global investment outlook, technological revolution, digital transformation and renovation, as well as corporate survival strategy in the era of disruptive technologies.

Under the theme of “Aiming for Great Instauration,” the annual three-day forum hosted by South Korea’s largest business media group, Maekyung, offers audiences seven sub-themes with a total 90 related sessions.

Chang Dae-whan, Chairman of Maekyung Media Group and founder of the forum, said the event aims to provide a platform for cutting-edge knowledge sharing. He said it was important to make sense of global trends and to ignite new initiatives in a world facing severe political, economic and social obstacles.

The forum has attracted more than 2,000 Korean and international audiences.  Speakers at the event include well-known veteran politicians, academics from various prestigious universities worldwide, successful entrepreneurs from the world’s largest companies and representatives of major media outlets.

Since its inception in 2000, the WKF has invited various world renowned figures including World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, Harvard University Professor Lawrence Summers, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. --- VNS

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