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Asian, EU Leaders to Attend ASEM Summit
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Heads of state or government from13 Asian countries and 25 member states of the European Union will attend the Sixth ASEM Summit in Helsinki on Sept. 10 and 11 hosted by Finland, the current holder of the EU Presidency.

According to a press release of the Finnish government on Thursday, the gathering will be the largest ever meeting of Heads of State or Government hosted by Finland, bringing together some two thousand participants. It is also estimated that around 1,000 media representatives will come to Finland to cover the summit.

The Summit in Helsinki will mark the 10th anniversary of the ASEM cooperation process. It will be chaired by Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

The summit will focus on ways to respond to the challenges of globalization. The issues on the agenda include global security threats, energy security, climate change, WTO negotiations, competitiveness and the structural changes in global economy.

It will also consider the future prospects for ASEM cooperation on the basis of a joint research project by Finland and Japan, entitled "ASEM in its tenth year: Looking back, looking forward," published in March 2006.

ASEM cooperation was initiated in 1996 with a view to strengthening dialogue and interaction between Asia and Europe. Discussions center on political, economic cultural and social issues.

The summits that are organized every two years, alternately in Asia and Europe, set the guidelines for cooperation. They also provide Asian and European heads of state or government with an opportunity to meet each other and discuss key international issues.

(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2006)

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