Cooperation and regional connectivity have become one of the main trends in East Asia with regional countries playing a proactive role, especially members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made the statement at the opening session of the 2012 World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF) in Bangkok on May 31.

The PM said alongside the building of an ASEAN Community, ASEAN member countries have actively cooperated with partners countries in and outside the region to implement many cooperation programmes and initiatives, such as the Mekong Sub-region, ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3 and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

“Such cooperation programmes, initiatives and mechanisms have contributed to boosting dialogues, mutual understanding and policy coordination among related countries while creating favourable conditions and playing an important role in the region’s development, as well as strengthening the role of East Asia in the global economic structure,” he said.

“Our achievements have created many opportunities for East Asian countries to deepen regional cooperation and connectivity,” he added.

However, the Prime Minister warned of the challenges and difficulties facing the region.

“Global economic restructuring is occurring in the context of falling production, rising inflation, increasing public debts and fluctuating energy and food prices,” PM Dung said.

“This has led to a need for suitable adjustments to cooperation schemes, including the East Asia cooperation mechanism,” he said.

The Prime Minister shared his thoughts on enhancing cooperation and regional connectivity, such as promoting regional cooperation with ASEAN as the key player and ensuring synchronism in regional cooperation.

He also stressed the importance of stronger cooperation in the sustainable and appropriate use and management of Mekong River water resource for the interests of local residents and sustainable development of countries along the river, as well as in ensuring a peaceful and stable environment for development, including peace, security and maritime freedom in the East Sea.

The WEF on East Asia, themed “Shaping the Region’s Future through Connectivity”, called on East Asian nations to continue adjusting growth models to adapt to the economic situation after the global financial crisis 2008-09

It urged regional members to enhance their ability to cope with emerging development challenges, especially in the implementation of effective financial policies to control inflation, capital flow and price fluctuations.

The forum attracted more than 600 delegates including country leaders, international intellectuals and business representatives from 50 countries.

On the sidelines of the forum on May 31, PM Dung met with Thailand ’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

He said that Vietnam will enhance cooperation with Thailand based on mutual understanding and trust.

The two PMs agreed to boost exchanges of high-ranking delegates, ministries and localities. They also discussed the inter-cabinet meeting at the end of the year.

At a separate meeting with WEF President Klause Schwab, PM Dung said Vietnam is very interested in issues discussed at the forum, especially those about regional connectivity, a suitable growth model for East Asian countries and how to cope with the development challenges.

He said that Vietnam is implementing a socio-economic development strategy for 2011-2020 with three breakthroughs in constitution, infrastructure and human resources, together with economic restructuring and sustainable development.

He expressed his wish that the annual WEF in future will continue to focus on those topics.

The two sides were satisfied with bilateral coordination in implementing some initiatives such as projects on join vision in agriculture and customs modernisation, and affirmed to continue cooperating in the coming time.

At the end of the forum, Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh affirmed that Vietnam ’s participation in the WEF is part of its active and proactive policy in international integration.

At the forum, Vietnam had a chance to present the international community with the country’s policies, development potential and opportunities for investment, Vinh told reporters.

He said practical topics discussed at the forum are of practical benefit for Vietnam such as discussions on development models in East Asia after the global financial crisis, the implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals, and coping with global challenges and risks.-VNA