Vietnam attaches importance to Asia-Europe cooperation

Oct. 23 (VNA) -- Viet Nam attaches importance to Asia-Europe cooperation, in line with its external policies of independence, sovereignty, diversification, multilateralization and world integration.

So said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam in an interview with the national daily Nhan Dan on Oct. 23 on the outcome of the third Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM III) in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, from Oct. 19-21, which he attended as head of the Vietnamese delegation.

Viet Nam was no mere participant in ASEM. It helped found the conference in 1996. At this event, Viet Nam played the role of President of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Standing Committee (ASC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum, and undertook the role of Asian coordinator for ASEM until ASEM IV in the second half of 2002 in Denmark.

The country, Cam continued, had actively taken part in preparations for the conference, including compilation of ASEM documents and settlement of issues in the Asia-Europe cooperation, thus boosting mutual understanding and cooperation in economics, science-technology, culture and education between the two continents.

At ASEM II in 1998 in London, Britain, Viet Nam launched two initiatives: "combining traditional medicine and western medicince in community healthcare" and "preserting and promoting cultural heritages in ASEM member countries".

At ASEM III, Viet Nam proposed increased business opportunities in ASEM in order to focus ASEM economic cooperation on concrete issues. These were Viet Nam's practical contributions to the diversification of ASEM cooperation, the Deputy PM affirmed.

As an Asian coordinator, Viet Nam should raise the sense of initiative and creativity to promote the implementation of the Asia-Europe cooperation framework 2000 and the ASEM III Chairman's Statement, boosting ASEM cooperation in the first years of the 21st century and contributing to the development of each member country, both continents and the world in the context of the knowledge economy, Cam asserted.

Assessing the results of ASEM III, the Deputy PM said the meeting was a success, marking a new step forward in the cooperation between Asia and Europe which was established on March 3, 1996. The leaders from 25 ASEM member countries and the President of the European Union had agreed upon the ASEM target of setting up a comprehensive Asia-Europe partnership. Cooperation would be expanded in political, economic and other fields. ASEM III had defined targets, orientations, principles and priorities for cooperation between the two continents in the new century. It also adopted a "Seoul statement on peace on the Korean peninsula".

Deputy PM Cam stressed that the meeting's success showed ASEM's role as a bridge linking two large and potentially powerful continents, helping boost mutual understanding between Asian and European peoples, and developing multi-faceted cooperation, especially in economy and science and technology, on the basis of equality and for peace, stability and development on two continents and in the world as a whole.