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AEAN at 50

ASEAN at 50: Muted Celebrations

15 November 2017

A region which can stand on its own feet, strong enough to defend itself from any negative influence from outside the region.” This is how Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik envisioned ASEAN at the organisation’s inaugural conference on 8 August 1967. Faced with the threat of communism, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand agreed to establish the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote regional peace and prosperity. Later, five other countries Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam joined the project. Over time, the ASEAN has equipped itself with stronger institutional mechanisms to broaden cooperation in an ever-growing array of fields. This has been helpful in promoting peace and stability and fostering trust in the region, despite huge economic differences and recurring tensions between the members. ASEAN is struggling to deal with the rise of China and currently faces a major challenge in its response to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

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First Europe v Asia Golf Match

23 October 2017

The EU team won a narrow victory over the Asian team by 301-293 points on 22 October at La Tournette golf club.

The photo above shows Ambassador Rodney Pereira of Sri Lanka handing over the trophy to Jim Moran, the EU captain and former Director for Asia in the EEAS.

The format was four ball, better ball, stableford, and all the matches were very close. 

The Asian team included ambassadors and senior diplomats from Samoa, Myanmar, Malaysia,  Vietnam, Indonesia and Korea.

The European team included players from Belgium, Ireland, Denmark, Spain and the UK.

It is planned to repeat the match in 2018.

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EU-India Summit

4 October 2017

The 14th EU-India summit took place in New Delhi on 6 October.  2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held discussions with Donald Tusk and Jean Claude Juncker. Federica Mogherini also attended the talks with her Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj.

The summit with India marked the 55th anniversary since the establishment of EU-India diplomatic relations. But there were no major deliverables as the FTA negotiations which have been in train for several years remain deadlocked. 

Leaders took stock of the implementation of the EU-India ‘agenda for action 2020’ endorsed at last year’s summit and agreed four joint statements. [* see below]

In the area of security, EU and India leaders discussed how to further enhance cooperation on counter-terrorism and maritime security. These are top Indian priorities given the threat from Pakistan militant groups and New Delhi’s concern about China’s maritime ambitions.

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Mogherini attends ARF in Manila

9 August 2017

EU High Rep, Federica Mogherini, boosted the EU’s presence in Asia with her attendance this week at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) annual meeting in Manila. The ARF brings together the ten ASEAN countries, the EU and countries such as Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.

Mogherini also co-chaired the annual EU-ASEAN ministerial conference, which this year marks 40 years of partnership between the two blocs (see below). She met with the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, and with the Foreign Minister of the Philippines, Alan Cayetano. She thanked the Foreign Minister for the good cooperation with the EU under his country's chairmanship of ASEAN. The two discussed bilateral relations related to human rights, trade, development cooperation, and the final ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

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EU Tightens Sanctions on DPRK

19 July 2017

At the Foreign Affairs Council on 17 July the EU agreed to tougher sanctions against North Korea following its latest test of an intercontinental missile on 4 July. The statement called on the DPRK to ‘to comply without delay, fully and unconditionally, with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and to refrain from any further provocative action that could increase regional and global tensions.’

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EU-Japan Summit

6 July 2017

The 24th EU-Japan summit on 6 July was one of the most productive with leaders agreeing the broad outlines of an FTA and an updated strategic partnership agreement.

President Tusk said that the two sides were united by their shared values of democracy and the rule of law as well as support for a rules-based international order. The highly ambitious and comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was a signal that the two sides favoured free and fair trade instead of protectionism.

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Cooperation Memorandum Between EU-Asian Centre And the Renmin University of China

5 July 2017

In order to enhance the bilateral relationships, improve mutual understanding, develop academic exchanges, the Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies at Renmin University of China and EU-Asian Centre agree on the cooperative memorandum. Fraser Cameron, the diretor of EU-Asia Centre attented the signing ceremony with the Executive Director, Prof YAN Jin, Chairman of School Council, Prof. Dr. NIU Tong from Renmin University.   

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asia

Asia Leads Global Growth

9 June 2017

According to the IMF latest forecasts, Asia continues to lead global growth with the region predicted to enjoy over 5% growth in 2017 and 2018 compared to just over 3.5% for the rest of the world. This means that Asia will contribute around two-thirds of global growth thus continuing a trend of several years. The reasons for this high growth include higher external and domestic demand, rebounding global commodity prices, and domestic reforms.

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obor

China’s Showcase Silk Road Summit

18 May 2017

China certainly knows how to put on a good show. After the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai Expo and the Hangzhou G20, President Xi’s Belt and Road Forum on 14-15 May brought together a staggering array of world leaders including Vladimir Putin, Recep Erdogan, Michelle Bachelet, Christine Lagarde and Antonio Gutteres.

Thanks to a closure of factories Beijing was bathed in sunshine and enjoyed clear blue skies. “I wish there was a summit every month” said my taxi driver.

Speaker after speaker lined up to laud President Xi’s vision for a new Silk Road. It was a ‘win-win project’ that would bring economic prosperity and ‘mutual benefit’ for all countries involved. The project would build roads, railways, ports, pipelines, energy and telecommunications infrastructure linking China to Central and South East Asia, Europe and Africa by land and sea. 

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EU ready to move forward with China after French election

8 May 2017

Sunday's convincing win for Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential elections provides the EU with an opportunity to shake off its populist blues and move forward with a new unity of purpose. The Macron win was important because he was by far the most pro-EU candidate arguing that what France needed was more European integration, not less. It is no surprise that his victory was especially welcomed in Brussels.

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