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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

East Asia Summit ends with high optimism

Nandita Mallik in Kuala Lumpur | December 14, 2005 11:58 IST
Last Updated: December 14, 2005 13:07 IST

The first East Asia Summit concluded on a high note on Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with leaders agreeing to support efforts to build a strong ASEAN Community, which will serve as a solid foundation for the common peace and prosperity of the region.

During the summit, two declarations were signed by the member of 16 nations: the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, and the Avian Influenza Prevention, Control and Response.

The 16 nations include the 10 members of ASEAN, India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the summit as a 'historic meeting' and said that the world's eyes were on it and the 'hopes and aspirations on millions of people who saw the EAS framework leading to a prosperous future.'

Singh quoted Jawaharlal Nehru, saying: "Today time is moving fast in Asia and the old continent is waking up." The prime minister said: "Future is our present, and Asia is India's destiny."

He said the East Asia Summit opened a seamless market for investment and goods. The East Asia Summit will be convened annually, and the next summit will be held in Segu, the Philippines, in 2006.

It was decided that the East Asia Summit will be hosted and chaired by an ASEAN member country and will be held back-to-back with the annual ASEAN Summit.

The modalities of the East Asia Summit will be reviewed by ASEAN and all other participating countries of the summit.

The East Asia Summit has been established as a forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest. Its aim is to promote peace, stability and economic prosperity in the East Asian region.

The efforts of the East Asia Summit to further community building in this region will be consistent and will reinforce the realisation of the ASEAN community and will form an integral part of the evolving regional architecture.

The leaders agreed that the summit will be an open, inclusive, transparent and outward-looking forum in which the region will strive to strengthen global norms and universally recognised values with ASEAN as the driving force working in partnership with the other participants of the East Asia Summit.

The summit members further agreed to focus on fostering strategic dialogue and promoting cooperation in political and security issues to ensure that the countries can live at peace with one another and with the world at large in a 'just, democratic and harmonious environment.'

It will focus on promoting development, financial stability, energy security, economic integration and growth.

Eradicating poverty and narrowing the development gap in east Asia through technology transfer and infrastructure development would also be on the summit's agenda.

The summit will also focus on good governance and humanitarian assistance and promote financial links and trade.

The summit members decided to promote deeper cultural understanding, people-to-people contact and enhance cooperation in uplifting the lives and the well being of the people of the region in order to foster mutual trust and solidarity.

It would also discuss issues such as environmental protection, prevention of infectious diseases and natural disaster mitigation.

The countries agreed to work out the modalities towards the formation of an East Asian Economic Community.

Speaking to the media after the conclusion of the first East Asia Summit, Rajiv Sikri, secretary (East), ministry of external affairs, said that there was a shared sense of identity and destiny.

The prime minister said that the time has come for Asia to play an important role in the development of world economy. Singh described ASEAN as a hub and said the 'driver's seat is safe.'

Even though the range of discussion was broad, no contradictory remarks were made.

Russin President Vladimir Putin attended the main meeting, as a guest of the host and made a short speech.

Apart from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, China's Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Republic of Korea President Roh Moo-Hyun, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark attended the meet.

Leaders from the ASEAN nations are: Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Lao People's Democratic Republic Prime Minister Bounnhang Vorachith, Malysian Prime Minister AbdullahAhmad Badawi, Myanmar Prime Minister General Soe Win, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai.

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