An opportunity wastedThe seventh Asia-Europe summit meeting occurred in Beijing amid a global financial crisis.
It adopted a joint declaration pressing for the full-scale reform of the international financial system before it closed on Saturday. The heads of state of 16 Asian countries and 27 European Union member countries agreed that the present situation is a serious crisis that cannot be overcome without international cooperation.
They declared support for the G20 summit meeting to be held on Nov. 15 in the United States at the proposal of U.S. President George W. Bush.
Given the financial crisis, the latest ASEM meeting is noteworthy in that there is greater interest than ever before in Asia and Europe’s roles.
However, it stopped at only theoretically confirming that international cooperation is needed.
It is regrettable that it ended as a talk fest without proposing specific solutions or essential action points to deal with the crisis, considering the situations faced by each country in Asia and Europe.
It would have been good if it had used the opportunity to fine-tune Asia and Europe’s position on how to reorganize the international financial system in view of the upcoming G20 summit meeting.
It is regrettable that measures to rescue emerging economies that are currently in crisis were not discussed.
When a fire spreads rapidly, we must first extinguish it. The fire that started as a U.S. problem is rapidly spreading to the entire world, damaging emerging economies.
Instead of a rescue plan from the International Monetary Fund that comes loaded with cumbersome conditions, a currency swap that alleviates the problem of short-term foreign currency liquidity in developing countries must be expediently provided to extinguish the fire.
The reorganization of the U.S.-centered financial system, the “Bretton Woods” system that was established after World War II, is inevitable. And everyone knows that under the global financial system, we can solve the crisis only through international cooperation.
The question is how. At the G20 summit meeting to be held next month, they should find the cause of the disease.
And in addition to deriving measures to prevent its recurrence, it should be a forum to find emergency measures to support countries from being cornered into default.