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China begins to receive leaders of Asia, Europe as ASEM approaches
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Asian and European leaders arrived in Beijing for the seventh summit of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to be held on October 24 to 25.

The Beijing Summit will be the first gathering for leaders of ASEM member states since the body's enlargement to 45 members in 2006.

As the host, China rolled out the red carpet for the guests. With the main streets decked with colorful banners, the capital also released a series of traffic control measures to ensure roads were clear during the meeting period.

So far Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, Malaysian Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Austrian Federal Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, Esthonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, Thai Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Somchai Wongsawat, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, ROK president Lee Myung-bak, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, Mongolia's President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Swedish Praime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, President of Slovenia Danilo Turk, Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis, Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, French President Nicolas Sarkozy have arrived.   

ASEM was formed in 1996 with a membership comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 10 member countries, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, 27 European Union countries, the ASEAN secretary general and the European Commission president.

ASEM was established as a high-level forum between governments of Asia and Europe. It aims at creating better conditions for cooperation between the two continents through strengthening dialogue and mutual understanding.

The Beijing Summit features the theme of "vision and action, towards a win-win solution".

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 2008)

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