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  Europe
8th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting in Hamburg
Special Contribution
From German Embassy in Seoul
Beleuchtete in Speicherstadt, Hamburg

On May 28 and May 29, 2007 the German Council Presidency of the European Union is to hold the 8th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting (Asia-Europe Meeting) in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

This will see 46 Asian and European foreign ministers and their delegations travelling to the north of Germany. The conference host will be Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

ASEM cooperation began in 1996 with the aim of strengthening dialogue and exchange between Asia and Europe. Over the past two years ASEM membership has practically doubled from an initial 26 to currently 45 countries and organizations. The forum is now a important Euro-Asian voice: the ASEM countries account for 58% of the world population, 60% of world trade and around 50% of global GDP. This means they can and must play a key role in
influencing world developments.

The biennial Foreign Ministers Meetings held alternately in Europe and Asia are intended to be a forum for informal dialogue and offer European and Asian foreign ministers the chance to meet and discuss all issues of global concern. In addition to questions on the current international agenda, there is a strong focus on economic, cultural and social issues.

By intensifying its cooperation also on "new issues" such as energy and climate change, jobs and employment, education and research, ASEM has given impressive proof of its potential. This cooperation, which takes place on a
host of different levels from Heads of State and Government to civil society, is now a practice-oriented process geared to the challenges of the future.

Hamburg will be a first for ASEM's six new members India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Romania, all represented by their foreign ministers, and the Secretary-General of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). An important aim of the Hamburg conference is to encourage the new ASEM
partners to participate actively in the ASEM process.

This year for the first time Dr Javier Solana, the EU's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, will also be a guest at the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting. His presence underlines the organization's growing security-policy dimension.

The 45 members participating in ASEM's cooperation activities are: Japan, China, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, South Korea, the ten ASEAN countries Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Viet Nam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, the Secretary-General of ASEAN as well as the 27 member states of the European Union and the European Commission. The four ASEM Coordinators are the German EU Presidency, the European Commission, China and Brunei Darussalam.

The conference is part and parcel of the dynamic Asia policy of the German EU Presidency. More information on the event, including details of organizational arrangements, accreditation formalities and the press programme are available at the Presidency website http://www.eu2007.de

The City of Hamburg offers a highly attractive and informative programme for journalists (considering also special interests of foreign correspondents).

In case of interest please check above web site or contact: Mr. Do Phil-Young at the German Embassy in Seoul at 02-748-4123.



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