CHINA> Top News
Expecting positive outcome of East Asia Summit
Updated: 2009-04-10 14:02

The "East Asia Summit", bringing together leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its dialogue partners, is due to convene in the seaside resort of Pattaya in Thailand from April 10 to 12.

The Thai government has all along looked for an appropriate site for the 12th summit between ASEAN and China (10+1), the 12th summit between ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) (10+3) and the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS) since the 14th ASEAN summit ended in Hua Hin, southern Thailand on March 1. Out of security concern, it has decided, after repeated evaluations, to set a leading venue at Pattaya, which is known as the "Hawaii of the Orient" for its beautiful beaches on the North Gulf Coast of eastern Thailand, more than 140 kilometers southeast of Bangkok.

The main venue is to sit at Royal Cliff Beach Resort, which can host more than 10 government delegations along with luxurious, top-quality hotels in the immediate vicinity. Thai leaders intend to capitalize on this special occasion to show to the world that their country is a safe place and Thais are warm, friendly and hospitable people. In addition to leaders of the ASEAN and its dialogue partners, they have also invited high-ranking officials of the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the ASEAN related meetings.

Therefore, the East Asia Summit is not only a conference for ASEAN and East Asia, but is also a conference of vital importance held against the backdrop of spreading financial crisis, which has drawn worldwide attention. The topics for discussion at the summits include the implementation of the ASEAN Charter, regional and international issues as well as pressing issues, namely, the world economy and financial crisis, food and energy security and disaster management, said Vitavas Srivihok, director general of the Department of ASEAN Affairs under the Thai Foreign Ministry.

Joint response to global financial crisis is the key topic for the related meetings. East Asian countries are expected to disclose at these meetings latest major developments affecting the global economic performance, including those about bond issues in East Asian regional markets and the asset composition of foreign reserves of East Asian countries.

Earlier, ASEAN (10) Plus Three of China, Japan and ROK agreed to expand the scale of a regional foreign exchange reserve pool from the initially-agreed level of 80 billion US dollars to 120 billion dollars, and the incoming East Asia summits would decide on performance factors regarding the ASEAN+3's Foreign portfolio investment.

Speaking on April 5, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said leaders at the meetings would discuss plans to cope with financial crisis and the follow-up work agreed upon at the London economic summit of April 2-3. He also voiced the conviction that the outcome of the incoming meetings is sure to reinforce the world's confidence and resolve for global economic recovery.

Thailand is currently alive with high public expectations for the summit. There is no less impact of the current financial crisis on developing countries than on developed nations, noted an ace researcher of the Thailand Development Research Institute. With less demands from developed nations, the export trade of Thailand and other ASEAN countries decline, and so it is all the more imperative for ASEAN and its dialogue partners to expand the inter-regional trade, and China, as a major export market of Thailand and ASEAN, has arrested unprecedented attention, he added.

Citing China as Thailand's second largest trade partner only next to Japan, a top scholar at the Institute of Asian Studies with elite Chulalongkrin University said that China's high economic growth rate in the teeth of global recession is an inspiration to Thailand. He also expressed the belief that the talks between leaders of China and other countries in the region during the summits would be fruitful in this regard.

The ASEAN, founded in 1967, groups 10 members of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapre, Thailand and Vietnam.