PM to attend Asia-Europe meeting in Lao PDR on Monday

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BANGKOK, Nov 2 — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will visit the Lao capital of Vientiane on Nov 5 and 6 to attend the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 9).

ASEM 9 will provide an opportunity for the Thai premier to reiterate the government’s policies and priorities connected with the shared interests of both regions, particularly policy to mitigate the impacts of the eurozone crisis and the promotion of sustainable development.

With these issues on the table, Thailand’s role as an active and constructive partner for all Asian and European partners as well as a bridge between the two regions will be reaffirmed, according to a Thai foreign ministry statement .

Ms Yingluck will also have bilateral meetings with a number of ASEM leaders, including Norway, Poland, Japan, Italy, Estonia, Bulgaria, Mongolia and the Lao PDR.

During the meeting convened under the theme “Friends for Peace; Partners for Prosperity,” leaders and representatives from 27 European Union member states, 19 Asian states, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat will join this forum.

The official ceremony to welcome new members Norway, Switzerland and Bangladesh will be held. With the inclusion of the three new members, ASEM’s membership expands from 48 to 51. The objective of ASEM is to provide a venue for the leaders of Asia and Europe to constructively discuss economic, political, security and socio-cultural challenges commonly faced by both sides, the statement said.

They can also exchange viewpoints on current developments in Europe, Asia and other regions, as well as exploring new ways to enhance cooperation and to strengthen relations between Asia and Europe in the future.

An informal forum for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe, the ASEM Summit, is the only platform that provides a bridge for all leaders from the two regions. It is held every two years, alternately in Asia and Europe. Thailand was host at its inception in 1996. The latest meeting, ASEM 8, was held in Brussels, Belgium, in 2010.