Asia should take on bigger role in world affairs, say Asian leaders

By Thursday May 26th, 2011 No Comments

TOKYO: Asian economies have emerged strongly from the 2008 economic crisis. Trade and investment are up, with the region pulling in over 50 per cent in foreign reserves.

Japan was also expected to invest more this year, because a strong yen had made production at home more costly.

Prominent participants from East Asia all expressed their condolences to Japan for the triple disaster of an earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear crisis. But that did not stop them from asking Japan to invest more to the rest of Asia and benefit from it.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, said: “I believe in Malaysia’s stability in infrastructure. Our location is in an area protective from the ring of fire. We’re in a place we can act as a base for companies that are working to restore Japan.”

Thailand’s Finance Minister said the events of March 11 have, in fact, helped Asia become more integrated. It saw countries help each other, and forced Thailand to look beyond its borders for alternative sources of energy.

But foremost on his mind was the upcoming general election in Thailand.

Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, said: “It’s unlikely either one of the major party will outright win majority. Even after July 3, there’s uncertainty who will form the government. How various parties will react.”

One of Singapore’s founding fathers Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who recently stepped down as Minister Mentor, also spoke.

He said China’s military build-up should be seen as part of its development as an economic power.

Mr Lee said: “That is an inevitable development which the civilian government has to find accommodating because the military leadership will not be satisfied with growth only for the civilian side.

“So, we must accept China will want to have an army, navy, air force equal to its status as an economic power. That is something unavoidable. But I do not believe it can challenge the Americans in its technological capabilities for a very long time.”

And many speakers felt Asia, as an integrated region, should now seek to take on global leadership.

Source : channelnewsasia

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