Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Source: VNA)
Ulan Bator (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has emphasised connections as a major focus of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) nations, during the 11th ASEM Summit that opened in Ulan Bator, Mongolia on July 15.

He underlined the need for ASEM countries to make full use of opportunities for partnership and connectivity in the digital era, as well as the new waves of international trade and investment, and the fourth industrial revolution.

ASEM countries should focus on investing in infrastructure projects, increasing trade and financial exchange, and developing information technology and human resources, he proposed.

Meanwhile, the forum should continue fortifying regional and sub-regional links, including the Mekong-Danube cooperation, to contribute to narrowing the development gap between countries and enhancing the capacity of developing members, which will strengthen people-to-people contacts within the Asia-Europe Foundation.

He noted that over the past two decades, ASEM has carried out its strategic vision on international cooperation and connection, and has become a bridge linking countries, civilisations, businesses and the people of Asia and Europe.

The PM suggested that the forum should rejuvenate and enhance the effectiveness of partnerships towards a new level in the world, in terms of dialogue and cooperation in the 21 st century, contributing to peace, stability, security and sustainable development in both continents and the world.

Meanwhile, ASEM dialogue and affiliation should be closely linked with and directed towards sustainable development goals, especially the targets of poverty reduction, ensuring social welfare and the response to global challenges, he said.

The PM pointed to an immediate priority of joining hands in international efforts to realise the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and Sendai Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction, as well as the continuity of implementing the ASEM dialogue on sustainable development, which are key solutions to motivate the effectiveness of the partnerships.

The ASEM should also design specific programmes and projects to speed up operations of professional cooperation groups on education and human resources development, natural disaster response and sustainable management of water resources, he said.

He also highlighted the need to strengthen the engagement of the youth and businesses, especially small-and-medium-sized firms and startups in ASEM cooperation, to initiate and implement new ideas to improve the self-reliance and benefits of people in both continents.

He also pledged that Vietnam will work hard in joint efforts in elevating ASEM cooperation and will foster partnerships and affiliation mechanisms among Asian-European economies through the ASEAN Community, as well as the existing bilateral and multilateral partnership mechanisms.

He lauded the support of ASEM members to Vietnam’s initiative on creative education and human resource building, for sustainable development in 2017, which was launched during the 11th ASEM Summit.

Later the same day, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other ASEM leaders joined Mongolia’s Naadam Festival, which was recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.-VNA