JEJU (SOUTH KOREA): Asean and South Korea should look beyond their own borders and engage the emerging economies of Asia for greater benefit, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said besides working towards the greater integration of the economies of East Asian countries, there must also be a push to involve the growing economies of other Asian countries.
“Here, I am specifically referring to our neighbours in South Asia,” he said in his keynote address at the closing of the Asean-South Korea CEO Summit yesterday.
The summit, which began on Sunday, was held in conjunction with the Asean-South Korea Commemorative Summit 2009 to mark 20 years of South Korea being a dialogue partner with Asean.
Najib said this engagement would complement the integration of the economies of East Asian countries and open up new opportunities.
“I believe all Asian countries must make a concerted effort to engage one another in the name of greater regional cohesion, and indeed, resilience in the face of future challenges,” he said.
Referring to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund forecasts that Asian economies would be the first to recover from the current economic and financial crisis, Najib said it was in the interest of the region to push for a more inclusive Asia for the benefit of the global economic and trading environment.
He said the current economic crisis and that in 1997 had shown that the deepening of East Asian economic and financial cooperation were no longer an option but an imperative.
“Lessons learnt can contribute to a strong and dynamic East Asian region which will provide economic growth not only for the region but also act as a catalyst for global economic growth as well,” he said, adding that this could be done by developing further the Asean Plus One free trade agreement structure.
On Asean-South Korea cooperation, Najib said there appeared to be a lack of intensity in the engagement of the business communities in Asean and Korea.
He urged the private sector to move fast to realise the potential and make use of the opportunities that could flow from such relationships.
Malaysian businessmen attending the CEO summit include Naza Group chief executive officer SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin, Berjaya Group chief chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Nadicorp Holdings Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Nadzmi Salleh.
Source : The Star