Global economic turmoil to dominate PM's meet with world leaders

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Tokyo, Oct 23 (UNI) The global economic turmoil will dominate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's engagement with world leaders during his two-day stay in Beijing to attend the seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM-7) beginning tomorrow.

Dr Singh left here today after winding up his three-day visit during which he had discussed the global financial turbulence with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso, besides holding a regular annual summit-level meeting with him.

At a bilateral meeting yesterday, both the leaders spent considerable time discussing the global economic turmoil. Both of them agreed that there must be some kind of Asian response to the crisis. "When to do this and how to do this will take time to evolve," Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said.

The main engagement of Dr Singh in Beijing is his participation in ASEM, the first at the summit level after India joined the grouping of 45 countries, which includes Pakistan.

India, along with Pakistan and Mongolia, Bulgaria and Romania, are participating in the biennial summit level meeting of ASEM for the first time.

Though the theme of the seventh ASEM in Beijing on October 24 is "Vision and Action towards win-win solution," the international financial situation which shows the prospect of a prolonged recession in industrialised countries is likely to be high on the agenda of the meeting.

"This meeting is set against a special global condition in the areas of economy, energy, climate change and food security," External Affairs Ministry sources said, while adding that the summit was expected to achieve more consensus on these issues.

Sources said India's association with ASEM would help the country in many ways as 50 per cent of India's trade is with ASEM countries.

The population of the ASEM countries constituted 50 per cent of the total world population.

External Affairs Ministry is not yet sure if there will be a meeting between Dr Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani on the sidelines of ASEM.

Sources said according to the confirmed programme, Dr Singh would meet only with the President of Mongolia and Prime Ministers of Italy and Vietnam tomorrow.

He would attend a dinner being hosted by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo on the same day.

Dr Singh would have a breakfast meeting with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and a meeting later with the Bulgarian President before leaving for New Delhi in the evening of October 25.

UNI SH AKJ SB HT1430

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