An opening ceremony for the fifth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 5) was organised in Ha Noi on Friday morning in the presence of President Tran Duc Luong of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and head delegates from all 39 ASEM member countries.
In his opening speech, President Tran Duc Luong stressed ASEM 5 is mandated to develop suitable measures and steps to reach the goals reflected in its over-arching and consistent theme 'Further Revitalising and Substantiating Asia-Europe Partnership'.
He went on to say that the Ha Noi Summit should convey a strong message of the Leaders' clear determination, long-term vision and commitment to concrete actions so as to bring the ASEM process to a new development stage toward a comprehensive Asia-Europe partnership.
"We expect the Ha Noi Summit to express even stronger ASEM commitment t broader multilateral cooperation, especially to the central role of the United Nations in overcoming those challenges. In this connection, ASEM should make substantial contributions to the common efforts of the international community," the president said.
He affirmed that the first-ever enlargement of ASEM at this Summit constitutes an important step forward in the development of the process. This enlargement will help tap the full potential of Asia-Europe partnership, and heighten ASEM's important role and position in the world arena.
Heads of delegations of ASEM coordination member countries, including the Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Japan Koizumi Junichiro, President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, and acting Prime Minister of Denmark Per Stig Moller, delivered speeches at the the opening ceremony.
They said they valued Viet Nam's preparations for ASEM 5, stressed the significance of ASEM enlargement at the Ha Noi summit and called for promotion of Asia-Europe dialogues, covering politics, economics and culture.
Heads of 39 ASEM member delegations began closed sessions to discuss topics of the summit.