Europe and Asean to discuss closer ties
A KEY meeting aimed at strengthening ties between Europe and Southeast Asia begins in Singapore today when senior officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union get together for two days.
The meeting is expected to be a precursor to the first Asia-Europe meeting, which will be a summit of leaders of the two organisations, to be held in Bangkok in March 1996.
The senior officials will discuss the agenda for that meeting, as well as exchanging views on political, security and economic issues.
Moves to create closer ties between Europe and Asia have grown out of concern that European business is missing business opportunities in Asia.
Asian leaders have indicated they want to balance the influence of the United States in the region following the Bogor Declaration signed by members of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in November 1994.
The declaration set out APEC's goal to make the Asia Pacific a free trade area bvy 2020.