Opinions < 2004 < July

Engaging Asia and the World 

Kavi Chongkittavorn
The Nation, Thailand
July 30, 2004 

As one of the world's fastest growing economies, India is doing everything it can to become an active partner in promoting economic cooperation and integration within the region. In an exclusive interview with The Nation at his residence on Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that India is part of Asia and would therefore seek active cooperation with Southeast Asian countries and beyond. 
Under his leadership, he said, India will also further engage with the world economy and continue with economic reforms.

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Read the Full Interview:

Part I Making the Most of BIMSTEC Grouping 
Part II Cementing cooperation within Asia


India has come out of its shell and looked East

India is blowing its horn to tell peoples that it is moving forward to assume its place in the global scheme of things. The message Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brought with him when visited Bangkok last week for first BIMSTEC summit last week was the case in point: India wants to engage with Southeast Asia and beyond.
....It should have surprised no one when Prime Minister Singh told The Nation in an interview that India favoured the establishment of an Asian Community as an extension of the East Asian Community. Indeed, India is pre-positioning itself in Asia as an economic powerhouse for the 21st century. The prime minister pointed that an Asean-plus-four formula that included India would be the first building block for a future Asian Community.

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India must be included in the ASEAN-plus three dialogue: Indian PM

K R Sudhaman (PTI) 
Outlook India
July 30, 2004 

India today said it favoured creation of an Asian community and said New Delhi should be included in the ongoing dialogue ASEAN has been holding with some of the leading nations in Asia.

ASEAN has been having summit-level meetings with China, Japan and South Korea, called the ASEAN-plus three process, since 1997 and India wants to be part of this process. India held summit meetings with the ASEAN leaders in 2002 and 2003.

"The place of India in the ASEAN would demonstrate 'the place of India in the ASEAN scheme of things,'" Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in an interview to leading Thai daily 'The Nation' on the eve of his departure to Bangkok to participate in the BIMST-EC summit.

Click here to read further http://www.outlookindia.com/pti_news.asp?id=238799



East Asia Community Concept Becoming Realistic Idea

Foreign Press Center
Japan Today
July 19, 2004 

"Only a few years ago this was something unthinkable," says a Japanese government official, referring to the gathering momentum of what appears to be a move toward the creation of an East Asian Community.

It is still premature to predict how soon it will come, but political leaders and policymakers in the region look surprised at the unexpectedly fast pace at which things appear to be moving. The supposed community consists of Japan, China, South Korea and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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China's 'Asia co-prosperity sphere'

Sushil Seth
The Taipei Times
July 8, 2004 

The US preoccupation with Iraq and global terrorism has given China an ideal opportunity to expand its role. In Southeast Asia it has forged a free-trade agreement with ASEAN. It has also signed a "Strategic Partnership" agreement with the regional organization.Although the partnership is supposedly "non-aligned, non-military and non-exclusive," it has a wide scope to cover almost anything and everything. For instance, it calls for cooperation in "politics, economy, social affairs, security and regional affairs."  

On the surface, China's regional diplomacy is not directed against the US. Indeed, according to Vice Premier Qian Qichen, a foreign affairs veteran, "We welcome a positive role of the US in the Asia-Pacific region for regional peace and development." But, in effect, Beijing is working on a two-pronged approach.

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Asia flexes its free-trade muscles

Tim Shorrock
The Financial Express
July 3, 2004

Led by Japan and China, the disparate nations of East Asia are in the midst of a free trade revival that could create one of the world's largest economic blocs.

Last week, Japan and South Korea began a fourth round of negotiations aimed at creating a bilateral free-trade agreement (FTA) by December 2005. The signing of an agreement would unite two economies with a combined gross domestic market of US$5 trillion, about 75% of the entire East Asian economy...

...The "centrifugal forces" behind free trade are very strong, and Asia is already experiencing "the fruits" of regional cooperation, said Kinoshita. Under the "ASEAN-plus-three" structure, he noted, Asian countries recently launched an Asian Bond Market Initiative and an Asian Bond Fund so local governments will have access to capital during a future financial emergency.

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