Speech

Speech at ASEM III i Seoul. Address by Mr Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, at the Closing Ceremony of ASEM III in Seoul, 21 October 2000

The future of ASEM: Dialogue and enhanced co-operation

Mr President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me first to congratulate our Korean hosts. It is because of You, Mr President, and the government of the Republic of Korea that this Summit will be remembered as a milestone in the relationship between Asia and Europe.

In the past two days we have laid down new tracks for our future co-operation. By adopting the Asia-Europe Co-operation Framework, we have set out to intensify and strengthen our relationship. We have also decided that the next stop along these tracks will be in Copenhagen in the autumn of 2002. Let me assure all of you that the Government of Denmark will do whatever it takes to make this summit a new step forward to the benefit of our co-operation.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Together we will continue to deepen our dialogue and co-operation on the main challenges facing Asia and Europe. In this era of globalisation, global problems more than ever require global solutions. Environmental problems, rising oil prices, barriers to international trade, financial turmoil and unequal access to information technology are all problems common to both Asia and Europe.

Global problems require global solutions. ASEM has a major role to play in this respect. We therefore must continue and strengthen our co-operation within the ASEM-framework.

In our political dialogue, I believe there is scope for enhancing our co-operation on security issues of common concern. In particular, I believe that effective prevention of conflicts and crisis management are areas where we could all benefit from increased co-operation.

In the dialogue on global economic problems we should keep in mind the declaration from the Millennium Summit in New York only some weeks ago. The declaration stated that the central challenge facing us today is to ensure that globalisation becomes a positive force for all people of the world. Globalisation offers great opportunities - but also calls for global solidarity and social responsibility. We know that many people are worried about the changes coming from globalisation. We cannot and should not eliminate globalisation, but as responsible leaders we could take common action to change uncertainty into security for our citizens.

In this respect, ASEM should serve as a forum for dialogue on how to create and promote advantages of international trade in a globalised world. ASEM could help us prepare the launch of a new and comprehensive WTO round - with focus on the need for opening our markets for products from developing countries. The launch of a new round would help create global economic and political progress and stability.

We need to ensure stability on the international financial markets. That is our lesson and obligation from the Asian economic crisis. There is a need for increased transparency, a code of conduct and enhanced co-operation between the international financial institutions.

Finally, we should remember that ASEM is more than summits and official meetings. The ultimate beneficiaries of the ASEM-process should be the citizens of Asia and Europe. We should continue to attach great importance to our co-operation within the third pillar and explore ways to further people-to-people contacts in ASEM. Overcoming the Digital Divide and enhancing our co-operation in science and technology are crucial. Equally, education and life-long learning are important areas, where we should continue and intensify our efforts.

At this Summit we have launched a number of new initiatives reflecting a wish to strengthen our relationship not only in words, but also in deeds. We should implement these initiatives in the best possible way – and commit ourselves to follow up on the results. I am convinced that we will all benefit.

We must establish efficient mechanisms for co-ordination and follow-up before our next meeting. Therefore we have charged our Foreign Ministers with these important tasks.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

ASEM is what we make it. The energy and effort we put into ASEM will decide the scale of our future co-operation. We have to raise our co-operative relations to a sustained partnership. If we do not provide the answers, others will.

In light of the challenges we face, the ASEM-process is more necessary than ever. Let us therefore - with equal emphasis on all three ASEM pillars - do our utmost to develop and deepen our co-operation. Let us share the responsibility and commit ourselves to building a strong partnership between Asia and Europe.

Denmark is looking forward to welcoming you in Copenhagen for the Fourth ASEM Summit.

See you in Copenhagen!

Thank you.