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the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting

The 8th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), a bi-annual event (the previous was in Beijing in 2008), just took place on October 4th and 5th in Brussels, Belgium. It was a big deal. Asia and Europe represent 60% of humanity and 60% of global trade. I like how ASEM state their mission. Below is part of it:

Since the inception of the ASEM process in 1996, Asia and Europe have kept their biennial appointment with remarkable regularity. It must be taken as a sign of the depth of commonality between them. Indeed, both regions have grown out of a long and turbulent history, both pride themselves of age old traditions and both present a wealth in cultural diversity. They have a common predilection for organized and structured relationships between nations which by experience foster security and stability. They both strive for an economic model that is balanced between consumption, saving and investment and that can prove sustainable over the long term. They similarly place human development at the center of their policies. They both favor multilateral and equitable governance of the world rather than zones of influence and relationships based on power.

In parallel, the 13th China-European Union (EU) Summit also took place, similar in purpose and scope to the China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialog (SED). Hillary Clinton was credited for expanding the SED to accommodate more than just trade, but culture, military, and other relationships between the two.

Anyways, as you have noticed, I highlighted a part of ASEM’s intro I thought worth extra attention. Given that the U.S. is the lone super power, I think the less powerful, namely the Asians and the Europeans would naturally prefer international relations less dominated by power. (See our earlier post, “Tsinghua University Professor, Yan Xuetong: “The Rise of China in Chinese Eyes”.”)

Russia took part in ASEM for the first time. Look at the map above to see which countries are involved. The U.S. is not part of it. For that reason, I have no doubt the U.S. media will pay no attention to this summit – or whatever little attention they give will be of the most negative. More on that later. Here is China’s coverage and some of their headlines:

EU leaders appreciate China’s support for euro
Germany to help China gain market status from EU
Japanese FM says to try hard to rebuild ties with China

If you are interested in the 8th ASEM, here is their massive agenda. Here is the joint statement on the outcomes.

Back to the U.S. media coverage (or rather the lack of) – is something you can easily determine. Do a search on the New York Times web site for “asia europe meeting” you will only see one or two articles directly mentioning it. Do a similar search or navigate around any major U.S. media, and you will find little coverage.

For that particular New York Times article directly mentioning the ASEM (see “Europe Presses China to Alter Trade Practices“), here is how it starts:

The European Union pressed China on Wednesday to amend its trade practices to stop technology theft, counterfeiting and discrimination against foreign companies, after it failed to make Beijing budge on its exchange rate.

I recommend you follow the link above and read the rest of the article. Talking about malice. Of course, the New York Times and other U.S. media’s narrative is exactly this when it comes to China. But, is this what the 8th ASEM and the China-EU Summit all about? No. Did the article cite any EU officials taking such a antagonistic stance towards China? No.

So, go figure. The Asian and European leaders came together on their 8th ASEM to strive for sustainable development, balanced consumption, and equitable world governance. Instead, the U.S. media’s narrative is of stopping Chinese “technology theft,” “counterfeiting and discrimination against foreign companies,” and yada yada yada.

In this recent discussion (“Newsy.com, breaking the mold of Western media bias?“), the point was made that in order to “check” against a lone superpower’s belligerence, its really up to the public within that country. But, if the media is so agenda driven and so unfair to those outside the country’s borders, then this “check” is really nonexistent.

Perhaps the New York Times and other U.S. media are going to help drive Asia and Europe closer.

  1. Jack
    October 7th, 2010 at 02:37 | #1

    Good that the US was kept out of this important gathering. Otherwise, there will be more divisions, tension and arguements!

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