Tag Archives: Asia-Pacific

PM will attend ASEAN-India Summit in Vientiane

Newsroom24x7 Staff

asean-indiaNew Delhi: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will attend the 14th ASEAN-India Summit and the 11th East Asia Summit to be held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 8 September 2016, at the invitation of Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of Lao PDR.

The Summits will be attended by Heads of State/Government of the 10 ASEAN and 18 East Asia Summit Participating Countries respectively. In the margins, Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with several leaders.

India’s engagement with the ASEAN and wider Asia-Pacific region has acquired further momentum following the enunciation of the ‘Act-East Policy’ by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at the 12th ASEAN-India Summit and 9th East Asia Summit in Myanmar in November 2014.

At the 14th ASEAN-India Summit, Prime Minister and ASEAN Leaders will review ASEAN-India cooperation and discuss its future direction under each of the three pillars of politico-security, economic and socio-cultural cooperation. They will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern. 2017 will mark 25 years of India’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN, to celebrate which a number of commemorative activities will also be announced by Prime Minister.

ASEAN is a strategic partner of India since 2012. India and ASEAN have 30 dialogue mechanisms which meet regularly, including a Summit and 7 Ministerial meetings in Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Tourism, Agriculture, Environment, Renewable Energy and Telecommunications. Minister of State for External Affairs, General (Dr.) Shri V.K. Singh (Retd.) recently attended the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane on 25-26 July 2016. Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Smt. Nirmala Seetharaman, attended the ASEAN Economic Ministers + India Consultations & EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Vientiane on 6 August 2016.

Trade between India and ASEAN stood at US$ 65.04 billion in 2015-16 and comprises 10.12% of India’s total trade with the world. The ASEAN-India economic integration process has got a fillip with the creation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area in July 2015, following the entry into force of the ASEAN-India Trade in Services and Investment Agreements. Conclusion of a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will futher boost our trade and investment ties with the region.
The East Asia Summit is the premier leaders-led forum in the Asia-Pacific. Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia. Apart from the 10 ASEAN Member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia.
India, being a founding member of the East Asia Summit, is committed to strengthening the East Asia Summit and making it more effective for dealing with contemporary challenges.
At the 11th East Asia Summit, Leaders will discuss matters of regional and international interest and concern including maritime security, terrorism, non-proliferation, irregular migration, etc. Three statements/declarations are under discussion for adoption at the EAS, viz. the Vientiane Declaration on Promoting Infrastructure Development Cooperation in East Asia; an EAS Declaration on Strengthening Responses to Migrants in Crisis and Trafficking in Persons; and an EAS Statement on Non-Proliferation.

A Joint Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations is expected to be adopted at a separate ceremony after the EAS.

Sovereign support to recede for APAC Developed Market Banks

Newsroom24x7 Staff

asia-pacificHong Kong/Singapore: Fitch Ratings says it expects government support for major systemic banks in APAC’s developed markets to wane. That is in line with a broader global trend as authorities seek to implement credible resolution regimes that would let creditors participate in losses should the banks fail.

Fitch has revised downward the Hong Kong Banks’ Support Rating Floors (SRF) to ‘No Floor’ on 19 May 2015, the same level as New Zealand. They are the only Asia pacific countries where support from the authorities is not expected; but we anticipate other developed markets in APAC would follow, but at a slower pace.

The report provides a snapshot of governments’ propensity to support major banks across the Asia Pacific, and explains what motivates the authorities that shape these resolution legislations. The propensity of governments in emerging Asia to provide support is expected to remain high in the near-term, even if they might be constrained in their ability to do so.

“New model of major country relationship between China and US has made much headway”

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Kerry-Wang YiBeijing: Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi said on Sunday that in the last two years the new model of major country relationship between China and US has made much headway.

The Chinese Foreign Minister made this observation while addressing the media-persons here along with US Secretary of State John kery. He said China-U.S. relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world, and our two countries jointly shoulder the responsibility and obligation to uphold both peace and promote world development.

Two years ago, Wang said, when the two presidents Obama and Xi met in the Sunnyland, they agreed to build a new model of major country relationship between China and the United States. Thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides – in particular, thanks to the personal commitment and promotion of the leaders of both countries – this new model of relationship has made much headway in terms of both conceptual development and of the actual practice.

Last year, China-U.S. two-way trade reached 555.1 billion U.S. dollars, and the stock of our two-way investment exceeded 120 billion U.S. dollars, Wang said adding more than 4.3 million people traveled between the two countries last year. All these numbers have set record highs in history.

In September this year, President Xi will be paying a state visit to the United States. Wang said that Kerry and he were of the view that this visit by President Xi to the United States is the paramount priority for China-U.S. relationship this year, which will have far-reaching and major implications for China-U.S. relationship in the days ahead.

To achieve this, Wang said they have to make sure that the seventh round of the China-U.S. S&ED – the Strategic and Economic Dialogue – and the sixth round of the High-Level People-to-People Consultation between China and the United States, to be held in the United States in the latter half of June this year, to be as productive as possible.

Wang went on to underscore:

We need to further deepen our economic and trade cooperation and speed up the BIT, the bilateral investment treaty negotiations. We hope the U.S. side will take concrete measures to ease civilian-use high-tech export control vis-a-vis China.

We need to continue to maintain the good momentum of the growth of our military-to-military relationship and follow through on the mechanism of notification of major military activities between the two sides, and reach an early agreement on military aircrafts covered by the code of safe conduct for maritime and air encounters.

We need to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the legal and the law enforcement field, and try to make new progress in the pursuit of fugitives and the recovery of their criminal proceeds.

We need to strengthen communication, coordination, and cooperation on international and regional issues, including the Iranian nuclear issue, the Korean nuclear issue, Afghanistan, and the prevention and control of the Ebola epidemic, so as to continue to add new strategic dimensions to this new model of relationship – major country relationship between China and the United States.

We need to strengthen communication on Asia Pacific affairs and jointly explore the prospect of harmonious coexistence and win-win cooperation between China and the United States in this region.

We need to continue to strengthen our communication and coordination on climate change to jointly ensure the success of the upcoming climate conference in Paris later this year. Meanwhile, we need to also work together to advance our bilateral practical cooperation on climate change.

Wang said that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the end of the World Anti-Fascist War. As allies and victory parties during the Second World War, China and the United States have common interests in upholding the outcomes of the victory of the Second World War and also upholding the existing international order with the United Nations at its center.

Both sides, wang told media-persons, are of the view that we have far more common interests than differences between us, and dialogue and cooperation always represent the theme of our bilateral relationship. Both sides need to act in a spirit of mutual respect, seeking common ground while shelving differences, and address the differences and sensitive issues between us in a constructive manner. China also expounds its principled stance on such issues related to Taiwan and Tibet.

Wang said as long as both sides continue to act in the principle of non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation, and stay committed to the path of building a new model of relationship – major country relationship between China and the United States, we will be able to usher in a bright prospect for China-U.S. relationship and bring more benefits to the people in both countries and enduring peace and prosperity for the world.

Kerry, on his fifth visit to China as Secretary of State, said that the relationship between the United States and China is certainly one of the most consequential, if not the most consequential relationship in the world.

Kerry told journalsists that there are three key meetings that he was working on together with his Chinese counetrpart. One is the Security and Economic Dialogue that will take place in June in Washington. Two is the summit between President Xi and President Obama to take place in September. And three is the global meeting that they are working on together regarding climate change in Paris in December.
Kerry said they are addressing some of the most complex global challenges that the world has ever seen. That includes the work on curbing the disease Ebola, the DPRK – North Korea – and its nuclear program, and it also includes the work together with respect to the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The American Foreign Secretary said China has been playing an important key role as a P5 member. Our nations remain closely aligned in this effort. We are united along with the rest of our P5+1 and EU partners, he said adding we still have a long way to go. Many technical issues remain to be resolved. But we will continue to work hard as the June 30th deadline approaches. We are all united and committed to do all we can to finalize an agreement that cuts off all of Iran’s pathways towards enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, and gives the international community confidence that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.
As with Iran, Kerry said North Korea needs to live up to its international obligations and commitments. And it is obvious that North Korea needs to recognize that it will not succeed in developing its economy or breaking out of diplomatic isolation if it continues to reject denuclearization.
As we get closer to the UN Climate Conference in Paris later this year, Kerry said, the United States and China, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, will elevate our cooperation and coordination so that we can reach the kind of global agreement that we will need to ultimately address this threat.

We’re looking forward to building on our cooperation in other areas as well, including international development assistance and the fight against violent extremism Kerry said and welcomed China’s increased engagement with Afghanistan and its support of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process. Together, the United States and China are committed to supporting political cohesiveness and ensuring Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists.

Kerry said: “there are many other issues that we are working on together – trade, bilateral investment treaty, any number of different considerations on a global basis. But even as we work on these many, many issues, obviously, there are also areas where our nations have differences. And Foreign Minister Wang and I discussed those as well. We discussed our mutual interests and principles on how to handle maritime disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The United States has stated that we are concerned about the pace and scope of China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea. And I urged China, through Foreign Minister Wang, to take actions that will join with everybody in helping to reduce tensions and increase the prospect of a diplomatic solution. And I think we agree that the region needs smart diplomacy in order to conclude the ASEAN-China Code of Conduct and not outposts and military strips.”

Kerry observed, one of the things that characterizes the strength of – or the growing strength of our relationship and the willingness to cooperate is the fact that on a maritime dispute or on other issues – cyber issues or human rights, other areas – where we may have differing opinions, we don’t simply agree to disagree and move on.
A journalist asked both sides about their different visions for Asia Pacific prosperity, namely the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) and the AIIB, and what the prospects are of China joining the former and the United States the latter at some point in the future. And to follow on from that, one of the dangers in the future to bilateral cooperation and regional prosperity posed by tensions in the South China Sea, and particularly the possibility of U.S. patrols inside China’s 12-mile limit around the Spratly Islands and also whether the United States plan to carry out these patrols? And if China would respond in the event of those patrols taking place? The question was stretched furtherto ask regarding concerns about the latest missile test by North Korea and whether US and China see the prospects of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program opening the way for one on North Korea in the future.

Secretary Kerry reply to this complex querry was as follows:

With respect to the AIIB, there’s an enormous amount of misunderstanding, but let me try to be clear. There is a pressing need to enhance infrastructure investment throughout Asia as well as around the world. And the United States welcomes new multilateral institutions, including the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, provided that they share the international community’s strong commitment to high-quality standards, including genuine multilateral decision making, ever-improving lending requirements, and environmental and social safeguards. Those are the high standards that apply to global financial institutions.

And we will continue to engage directly with China and with other countries in order to provide suggestions as to how the AIIB can best adopt and implement these particular standards. But with that, we welcome the AIIB, and we encourage it to co-finance some projects with existing institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. And we are confident that under those circumstances, it can make an enormous difference, and we would strongly encourage it, as we talk today, to embrace a percentage of its allocation to – a significant percentage to clean energy, alternative energy, renewable energy, to sustainable environmental and other kinds of projects. And because of climate change in the United States, we are ending any funding – public money – that funds coal-fired power projects because of their impact on the climate. And we encourage China and other countries to do the same.

Now on the TPP, we welcome any country – we have a group of countries now come together to negotiate, but we welcome any country to come in to meet the standards of the TPP, and ultimately account for a standardization of the way in which people will approach trade, development, and investment. And I want to emphasize this – the TPP is not in opposition to anyone, any region, or anything. It is a proactive effort to raise the trade standards and transparency accountability of doing business on a global basis. It will set high standards on issues like labor, the environment, state-owned enterprises, intellectual property protection, in a part of the world where we believe those standards are still in flux and being determined. And this will help to create the rules of the road in a way where everybody benefits.

You may ask, “Why is that?” Because in today’s knowledge economy, in the knowledge economy of a global marketplace, stronger intellectual property rights protection actually encourages greater industrial production and it encourages foreign direct investment because it provides accountability for people’s investments. And what we have found in the United States, where today, we’re blessed to have unemployment below 5 percent, and where – around 5 percent, excuse me – and where we have enormous growth and innovation and entrepreneurial activity taking place, we believe that these standards encourage foreign direct investment in technology-intensive industries; it supports higher wages; and it fosters technology transfer and innovation.

Now I’ve taken a little longer than I wanted, but let me come very quickly to Korea and Iran. China is a vital partner in the Six-Party process with a very unique role to play because of its economic, diplomatic, and historical ties with North Korea. We share the common goal of peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, and we agree on the need for denuclearization in a peaceful manner. President Xi and President Obama affirmed their fundamental agreement and commitment to the denuclearization of Korea – North Korea in their public comments at the bilateral summit last November. So we intend to remain deeply engaged with China, which has unique leverage, and we appreciate many of the steps China has taken already over the past two years to implement the UN Security Council sanctions. But we will continue to work to make it absolutely clear to the DPRK that their actions, their destabilizing behavior, is unacceptable against any international standard.

Modi and Obama usher new era of Indo-US relationship

Newsroom24x7 Desk

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and the Chief Guest US President,  Barack Obama witnessing the 66th Republic Day Parade 2015, in New Delhi on January 26, 2015
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and the Chief Guest US President, Barack Obama witnessing the 66th Republic Day Parade 2015, in New Delhi on January 26, 2015

There is nothing to read between the lines in the statements by US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Nrandra Modi in New Delhi on the eve of India’s Republic Day. The message is loud and clear for the entire world. India and the US under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama have chosen to march forward leaving behind the cloak or the shadow of doubt. The two leaders have bridged the trust deficit by reaching out to balance the concerns, and divergent stands of both nations on crucial issues.

Underlining the spirit and commitment for a strong relationship between India and the US Prime Minister Modi said in his statement at the end of bilateral talks in New Delhi on January 25: “The promise and potential of this relationship had never been in doubt. This is a natural global partnership. It has become even more relevant in the digital age. It is needed even more in our world for far-reaching changes and widespread turmoil. The success of this partnership is important for our progress and for advancing peace, stability and prosperity around the world.”

From the turn of the century, Mr. Modi said in his statement, we had begun transforming our relationship, but we have to convert a good start into lasting progress. This requires translating our vision into sustained action and concrete achievements.

Mr. Obama responded in equal measure by stating: “As two great democracies, two innovative economies, two societies dedicated to the empowerment of our people — including millions of Indian-Americans — we are natural partners.”

The US President said that Mr. Modi’s election — and his strong personal commitment to the India-U.S. relationship — gives us opportunity to further energize these efforts.”Many of you know, in New York, the Prime Minister appeared in Madison Square Garden and was greeted like a Bollywood star, he said adding, I think, (this was) a signal of the deep friendship between our peoples as well as our close ties that we are working to expand even further.”

Today, Mr. Obama said, we achieved a breakthrough understanding on two issues that were holding up our ability to advance our civil nuclear cooperation, and we’re committed to moving towards full implementation.We agreed to deepen our defense and security cooperation. We’ve renewed the framework that guides our defense cooperation for another 10 years. And in a major step forward for our relationship, our Defense Technology and Trade Initiative will allow us to jointly develop and produce new defense technologies. We’ve also agreed to a new vision for the Asia Pacific so that we’re doing more together to advance our shared security and prosperity in this critical region.

CLICK HERE for Obama-Modi statements