European and Asian leaders begin three days of talks Monday centered on trade, IMF reform and climate change, after positive commitment from China to the Euro zone and financial support for the Greeks but under the cloud of a territorial spat between Japan and China that puzzles members states, especially on issues of legally bound obligations and treaties. ASEM, which meets every two years, groups the EU, the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan and Mongolia, and new members Australia, New Zealand and Russia.
Leaders will meet at the royal palace in Brussels for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) for two days, followed by separate European Union summits with South Korea and China on Wednesday. Also the 27-nation EU will sign a major free trade deal with South Korea. With Beijing, the EU wants China to open up its market to European companies while China wants the EU to drop a 21-year-old arms embargo and formally award it recognition as a market economy. In recent years, China has repeatedly demanded an end to the embargo, arguing that its security policies are fully in line with international rules. The EU, meanwhile, wants a summit promise that EU firms will be allowed to bid for state contracts.
Europe Asia represent 60 percent of the world population and global trade. Reform of the IMF will likely feature high on the agenda after the EU signaled Friday its willingness to cede some power at the international lender to emerging powers, which say Europe is over-represented. On climate change, ASEM leaders will share the goal "of reaching urgently a fair, effective and comprehensive legally binding outcome," and the ASEM summit coincides with a final preparatory meeting in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin for UN climate talks opening in November in Cancun, Mexico.
In an ambitious move reminiscent of the organization of the G8 summits set in versailles in the 70's by ex president Giscard d'Estaing, or on currency accords of the 1980s, President Nicolas Sarkozy hopes to open a debate on the currency subject when France takes over the presidency of the G20 group of leading nations in November as France has long advocated greater global economic governance.
As commentator Pfaff wrote "Since the second world war, under the influence of the dual victories of the war and cold war, European politicians, especially in Britain, have regularly pronounced on the long-lived bond uniting Europe and the United States. But even Nicolas Sarkozy now is disabused of this rhetoric". Today the situation has moved so rapidly that France, and EU accelerate the path of their commitment and trade relation with Asia, and China Japan Korea Indonesia Singapore India in particular.
Meaning: an other engagement is available more cooperative and sustainable, trans-national but it first requires a new network and easier circulation for cultural interactions, larger development and trade exchanges. This is what AG highlights in today's insight.
Imagine riding on a 141.204 kilometers Asian Highway, from Western Europe to East Asia!
The Silk Road began in China and traversed Central Asia, West Asia, Africa and reached Europe. This strategic route was instrumental not only in linking the ancient world but also in developing and promoting key economic and cultural partnerships between the East and West, especially the Chinese, Indian, Persian, Arabian, Greek, Roman, Venetian, France cultures. Today, the Silk Road is re-branded as the "The Asian Highway Network."
The 50 billion euro plans of an Asian Highway network interlaces with 32 countries, connects Asia with Europe, and promises to boost regional economies by facilitating trade and tourism through its linkage of Asian seaports, airports and major tourist destinations, highway, roads. It also fleshes out dreams of a Pan-Asian community with a common socio-political-economic identity analogous to the European Union.
The Asian Highway is becoming the latest element of a growing highway economy worldwide, in which highways are increasingly operated as for profit assets. Conceived in 1959, the Asian Highway took off with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) promoting it more ardently in the past two decades.
A big breakthrough came in April 2004 when 23 Asian countries signed the Asian Highway agreement in the 60th session of UNESCAP at Shanghai. The agreement, active since 2006 July 4, finalized the route map across Asia and established basic technical standards for roads and route signs.
With Eurasia and China, India rising economies joining the Japanese and Korean economical giants boom, and the South East Asian economic development, the project reached a level of necessity. Reason is: Trade is the oldest form of human, economic and cultural exchanges.
No wonder why Japanese, Europeans and north Americans are bringing investments to control major segments of these nations economies passing above the war torn Middle East region.
For her part China consolidates her highway network with the East including the Korean peninsula, the West and the South and the South East of Asia as the maps illustrates.
Not only a journey on concrete roads but also a Hi-Tech journey. It will add technological advances as seen over the years. Researchers worldwide are to take key components from the past and transform them so as to meet a more advanced future. The Silk Road culture has not been ignored. Researchers in the Central Asia region, including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, have received EUR 5 million from the EU's Europe Aid Cooperation Office to ensure better and faster internet capacity. More to come.
Japan, the island nation part of the same Network?
An undersea tunnel Japan Korea? In early 2008 the tunnel proposal came under renewed discussions by ten senior Japanese lawmakers who established a new committee to pursue it. This was followed by a study group from both countries in early 2009 that agreed to form a committee for the creation of specific construction plans. Committee head Huh Moon-do, a former director of South Korea's National Unification Board said the tunnel would help regional economics and societies.
In early 2008 the tunnel proposal came under renewed discussions by ten senior Japanese lawmakers who established a new committee to pursue it. This was followed by a study group from both countries in early 2009 that agreed to form a committee for the creation of specific construction plans. Committee head Huh Moon-do, a former director of South Korea's National Unification Board said the tunnel would help regional economics and societies.
On September 23rd, the Korea Herald published the story http://bit.ly/dmsRFa "Korea considers underwater tunnels to China, Japan" "The three undersea tunnels for high-speed trains and automobiles currently being considered are the Mokpo-Jeju (167 kilometers) section; Incheon-Weihai (341 kilometers) section and Busan-Fukuoka (222.6 kilometers) section. If realized it would only take 2 hours and 47 minutes to get to Jeju Island from Seoul. Such projects were mentioned in the ministry’s recently presented plan to expand the country’s bullet train network by 2020, due to the increasing importance of “mega regions” in the global economy."
Sources: OECD, IMF, Europe Aid Cooperation Office, ESCAP, Agencies, Nissan photo, Reporter's notes (edited)