Asian and European leaders from more than 40 countries are expected to arrive in Beijing on Oct 24 for a two-day summit to address a series of pressing global issues, particularly the current financial crisis.
The seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), themed Action and Vision: Towards a Win-Win Solution, is being viewed as a timely platform for the exchange of constructive ideas and proposals to contain what is perhaps the worst global financial meltdown since the Great Depression, analysts have said.
"The financial issue is clearly going to be on top of the summit's agenda because the US-born crisis has already become a global problem and is substantially impacting both the European and Asian markets," said Pan Guang, professor at the Institute of European and Asian Studies with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
One of the best results from the summit is a possible joint trust fund between Asia and Europe, similar to the one established during the second ASEM summit in London in 1998 to combat the Asian Financial Crisis, analysts said.
Still, given the nature of the ASEM as an informal and open forum, it is unlikely that the Beijing summit will produce an immediate and concrete response plan, Pan added.
"For real action to take place, we will probably have to wait until after the holding of the next ASEM Finance Ministers' Meeting in Tianjin," he said.
Apart from the financial turmoil, the summit is also scheduled to address urgent global issues such as the food crisis, climate change and energy cooperation.
Thorny regional issues like the Russia-Georgia conflict and the nuclear issue in Iran and the Korean Peninsula are likely to be touched upon as well.
For China, the summit can be seen as "an opportunity for Beijing to deepen bilateral relations under a multilateral framework," said Feng Zhongping, director of European studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
(China Daily October 10, 2008)