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South Korea on Thursday called for Asian countries to build a proactive
intra-regional mechanism to better protect their nations from a festering global
economic crisis and to increase a pan-Asian financial safety net.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun made the call during this week's two-day summit of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), a 32-member body created in 2002 to promote Asian cooperation at a continental level.
"The Asian region has risen to greater prominence as it successfully overcame the 2008 global financial crisis," Kim said in his speech. "However, the Eurozone crisis continues to affect the emerging economies of Asia in such a way as to slow down their economic growth."
Kim warned that the European region's debt problems could cause another global financial crisis that would deal a severe blow to Asian economies.
"In order to better prepare against highly contagious regional or global crises, Asian countries should make further efforts to build a proactive intra-regional coordination mechanism and an intra-regional financial safety net in particular," Kim said.
Citing efforts by East Asian nations that doubled the size of a regional currency swap deal to US$240 billion, Kim said, "The ACD should seek ways to apply this experience to the entire Asian region."
The Chiang Mai Initiative
Multilateralization, which covers South Korea, China, Japan and the 10-member
Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is aimed at providing them with a
financial safety net against possible liquidity shortages.
"If ACD member states cooperate more effectively with one another within a more institutionalized framework and thereby maximize the Asian capacity, Asia will continue to stably lead the global growth," Kim said.
Asian and Arab leaders, including those from major oil exporting and importing countries, opened the summit calling for close cooperation to jointly fend off the global economic crisis.
Since the 2008 global crisis, economic growth around the globe has been fragile amid the deepening debt crisis in Europe, a weakening growth in the U.S. and a cooling Chinese economy. Such uncertainties have forced Asian countries to join hands in fighting against the impacts of the global economic malaise.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund cut its 2012 global economic growth forecast to 3.3 percent from its July outlook of 3.5 percent.
Initiated by Thailand in 2002, the ACD brings together top officials from Asia's major economies -- South Korea, China, Japan and India -- as well as leading oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, in addition to Iran and Russia.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra were among the leaders attending this year's meeting.