24 July, 2021

East Meets West

But many Asian nations will not be represented at the Bangkok meet in March

East Meets West

 IT'S called the Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM). But surprisingly, only 10 Asian nations have been invited for the two-day summit with the European Union, being held in Bangkok from March 1. India is not one of them.

 The meeting is another in a series of recent indications that the new world order will be one of regional trading blocs. These will sometimes overlap—as the new Asia-Europe grouping does with the more established Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation forum (APEC)—and sometimes clash. ASEM is widely seen as providing a new, logical strand in the web of world trading relationships.

 According to Yang Razali Kassim, a Singapore-based political commentator and chairman of AMPRO, an economic grouping of Muslim professionals in Singapore: "Europe is trying to catch up with the US and Japan in the race to get influence in the Asia-Pacific. The Europeans feel left out by the convergence of interests among the Asia-Pacific economies through APEC. South Asia, Australia and New Zealand have been left out because this is the...

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