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25 October 2009

Asean, East Asia discuss regional cooperation

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Asean leaders and their counterparts of China, Japan, and South Korea attended the 12th Asean (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) plus Three Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand Saturday, where they discussed a series of topics concerning regional cooperation, reported Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The leaders shared their views on the need to continue implementing the domestic stimulus measures and appropriate fiscal and monetary policies while standing firm against protectionism, said Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya at a press briefing after the summit.

The 12th Asean Plus Three Summit and a series of related summits were held in Hua Hin, Thailand on Saturday. The topic of mobilising funds to support infrastructure development projects was brought up during the meeting, and the leaders tasked their finance ministers to develop an idea for an Asean infrastructure development fund, building upon the funds that China and Japan have pledged to present at the next Asean Summit, according to Kasit.

In terms of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), leaders agreed that the CMIM is the model for regional cooperation for reserve pooling, which can help countries with problems of their financial liquidity.

During the meeting, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called upon the participating national leaders to strive to complete the signing of CMIM by the end of this year, in a bid to establish the regional foreign currency reserve pool.

Details of the CMIM, a sizeable foreign currency reserve pool among Asean, China, Japan and South Korea (Asean Plus Three), were finalized in May this year, two years after the initiative was first introduced to combat emergent financial problems.

The total size of the CMIM is $120 billion with the contribution portion between Asean and the Plus Three countries at 20 percent versus 80 percent.

Other key topics discussed by the leaders also include the establishment of the regional economic surveillance mechanism, the implementation of the Asian Bond Markets Initiative, and the possibility of establishing an East Asian FTA (Free Trade Area).


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