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ASEAN-EU

EU to Boost Support for ASEAN

20 May 2015

On 21 May the EU adopted a communication to strengthen EU-ASEAN relations. The plans include a number of proposals including:

-      taking trade relations with ASEAN to a different level and working towards an ambitious region to region Free Trade Agreement (FTA) building on bilateral agreements between the EU and ASEAN Member States

-      stepping up cooperation on \'Connectivity\' by exchanging lessons learned and by mobilising the financial means and expertise to support ASEAN efforts, including on the single market and through negotiating a civil aviation agreement;

-      strengthening collaboration on climate change and initiating a new, dedicated EU-ASEAN policy dialogue on environment and sustainable development;

-      more than doubling EU financial support for ASEAN integration (to 170 million) which comes on top of the EUR 2 billion for ASEAN Member States;  

-      implementing an extensive ‘package’ of new initiatives in the area of non-traditional security (maritime security, disaster management and crisis response, transnational crime, training courses on preventive diplomacy, crisis management, mediation, the rule of law and election observation).

In presenting the proposals: \"The EU and ASEAN: a partnership with a strategic purpose\" Federica Mogherini said \"The partnership between the EU and ASEAN is crucial and we are determined to build on it and strengthen our political and economic cooperation. From trade to security, from climate change to the rule of law, we have a deep cooperation and as the EU we are supporting ASEAN integration. Deepening and broadening our relation with ASEAN is key for the EU’s Asia strategy,” said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini.

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mogherini

Mogherini visit to Korea and China

9 May 2015

The EU’s HR/VP, Federica Mogherini, paid her first visit to Asia last week with trips to Korea and China. Asian governments have been frustrated as EU leaders, understandably, have had to concentrate on the EU’s neighbourhood since taking office last autumn. Now Asia is moving up the agenda with a range of ministerial and summit meetings planned for the coming months. The EU-Japan summit will be held on 29 May with the EU-China summit a month later.

Mogherini’s first stop was Korea where she was received by President Park as well as Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. Park has been keen on promoting EU-like cooperation in NE Asia (the NAPCI project) but has made little progress due to disputes over territory and history. A recent meeting of foreign ministers from Korea, Japan and China has given some hope for progress but much will depend on how the emotive history issue is dealt with in this 70th anniversary year of the end of world war two.

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ABE

Abe’s US Visit Provokes Mixed Reactions

4 May 2015

Last week’s visit to the US by Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, resulted in mixed reactions. The White House welcomed the deepening ties between the two countries while China and Korea criticised the Japanese PM for not apologising properly for Japanese aggression in the 1930s and 40s.

During his carefully choreographed visit, Abe and his US interlocutors agreed “new defence guidelines” which will allow Japan to exercise “collective self-defence” and to fight alongside US forces if under attack. Abe was pleased that President Obama reiterated the US pledge to defend the disputed Senkaku islands if attacked.

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mogherini

Mogherini to visit Korea and China

27 April 2015

The EU’s HR/VP, Federica Mogherini, will pay her first visit to Asia next week with trips to Korea and China. Asian governments have been frustrated as EU leaders, understandably, have had to concentrate on the EU’s neighbourhood since taking office last autumn. Now Asia is moving up the agenda with a range of ministerial and summit meetings planned for the coming months. The EU-Japan summit will be held on 29 May with the EU-China summit a month later.

Mogherini’s first stop will be Korea where she will be received by President Park as well as Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. Park has been keen on promoting EU-like cooperation in NE Asia (the NAPCI project) but has made little progress due to disputes over territory and history. A recent meeting of foreign ministers from Korea, Japan and China has given some hope for progress but much will depend on how the emotive history issue is dealt with in this 70th anniversary year of the end of world war two.

The EU and Korea are like-minded partners with few problems. The FTA is functioning well and the parallel political agreement has been supplemented by an agreement for Korea to participate in the EU’s CSDP missions. This will be one of the agenda items for Mogherini and Yun Byung-se to discuss along with the usual range of international issues including Russia/Ukraine, Iran, Syria/Iraq, and the DPRK. 

 

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AIIB

Europe Rushes to join AIIB

23 March 2015

Several EU member states have rushed to meet the 31 March deadline for countries wishing to apply to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as founding members. In a move publicly criticised by the US, the UK was the first big member state to announce that it would join the Chinese-led bank. The British move has been followed by Germany, France, Italy and Luxembourg with others considering joining before the end of the month.

The AIIB will have an initial $50 billion capital of which Beijing will put up 50% to fund infrastructure projects in Asia and is expected to be formally established by the end of 2015. Twenty-one countries including China, India and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding last October to establish the bank and so far 27 countries have applied to join as founding members.  

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Trilateral ministers

South Korea hosts Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers

22 March 2015

In their first trilateral meeting for three years, South Korea\'s Yun Byung-se welcomed Fumio Kishida from Japan and Wang Yi from China to Seoul on 21 March to discuss ways to ease tensions in the region. The ministers agreed to organise a ‘trilateral summit’ for their leaders ‘at the earliest convenient time’.

Following the meeting, Mr Yun said the ministers had agreed ‘to strengthen trilateral co-operation’ in the spirit of looking squarely at history and moving forward to the future’. Reiterating China\'s position, Mr Wang said: ‘The war has been over for 70 years, but the problem with history remains a present issue, not an issue of the past’.

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likeqiang

China National People’s Congress 2015

7 March 2015

China’s annual legislative gathering – the third session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) - was held in Beijing on 5 March.  The key words of the government’s work report were “7 percent”, “corruption” and “comprehensive”.

Premier Li Keqiang said that China will live in the “new normal” which means adjusting to slower growth. The plan is to lower the GDP growth rate to 7% (7.5% in 2014 plan) while paying more attention to dealing with the country’s massive environmental problems

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RIC

Russia/India/China Foreign Ministers Meeting

3 February 2015

The latest of the regular trilateral meetings involving the foreign ministers of Russia, China and India and which was held in Beijing ended with a joint communique.  The text makes interesting reading as it seeks to find common language to cover the major points of interest for the three partners.  For example, it calls for an end to the fighting in Ukraine and respect of the Minsk protocol; it calls for countries to respect sovereign rights over the internet; and it calls for a speedy reform of the international financial institutions. The full text is available here.

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OBAMA MODI

Obama in India – Again

26 January 2015

While the EU is struggling for recognition in India President Obama pays an unprecedented second visit to New Delhi this week as guest of honour at the Republican Day celebrations. Despite a ten year travel ban to the US, Prime Minister Modi now seems to enjoy cementing relations with the world’s leading superpower.

Relations between the US and India have not always been easy. Indeed the relationship has been characterised by bouts of friendship mixed with indifference and disappointments. Obama will have a number of priorities on his agenda this week. First to demonstrate to China and other Asian states that the US-India relationship is back on track. Second to push closer business ties. Trade between the US and China is almost five times higher than with India. 

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Mogherini-Kishida

Mogherini meets Kishida

23 January 2015

On 19 January Federica Mogherini received Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida for talks on EU-Japan relations as well as the international situation. The two ministers reviewed progress on the political and trade talks between the EU and Japan. It is hoped that they may be completed during 2015. On the international discussion the focus was on the Middle East and Ukraine.

Kishida then spoke at a public event on EU-Japan relations. He explained with specific examples that for 70 years since the war, Japan has acted with Europe to uphold and strengthen values and the systems that realize these values, and has contributed to world peace and prosperity. He emphasized that based on the \"trust\" and track record generated in that process, the Abe Administration has significantly advanced the relationship between Japan and Europe, as powerful partners in \"diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map.\" 

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