Statement by Vice Minister Saleumxay Kommasith at ASEM FMM 12, Luxembourg
Plenary Session 2: Connectivity and the Future of ASEM
Thank you Madam Chair,
First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the government of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg for the warm welcome and excellent arrangement for this meeting.
After almost 20 years of its existence, ASEM is and will remain relevant in international affairs. Given its unique and vibrant character, which is important for strengthening cooperation between Asia and Europe, it is nevertheless necessary for us to make ASEM framework more effective and deliverable in its action. ASEM needs to balance its focus among its three pillars of cooperation by enhancing its economic pillar and transform Asia and Europe economic cooperation into a more tangible outcome that would significantly benefit all nations in Asia and Europe.
Today, Asia and Europe have become even more interconnected and interdependent.
In this regard, Connectivity will provide a new opportunity for ASEM torwards common development, be a new platform for mutually beneficial cooperation and provide a new hope for common efforts to address difficulties. Therefore, it is high time for connectivity to be included as a priority area of cooperation in ASEM as it is interlinked with a broader area and reshapes landscape of Asia and Europe cooperation.
At Milan Summit, ASEM leaders highlighted the significance of connectivity between the two regions to economic prosperity and sustainable development and to promoting free movement of people, trade, investment, energy, information, knowledge and greater institutional linkages.
The diversity of ASEM members in terms of development levels, historical background and national capacities presents significant potential as well as new challenges for pushing forward ASEM connectivity. While members’comparative advantages constitute incentives for cooperation, we should ensure a sound balance between national strategies and regional priorities, bearing in mind the practical difficulties and challenges, including security concerns, which may come up at the ground level.
In this context, strong political wills and concerted efforts of members and relevant stakeholders are required. Different concerns should be appropriately addressed and common ground should be found to forge joint action. Therefore, Working Group under ASEM framework would be necessary, that should take on board all relevant intra Asia and Europe connectivity initiatives. ASEM members are also encouraged to form area-specific core group to work on a voluntary basis. Laos stands ready to work with all ASEM members towards this endeavour.