October 19, 2018 – The leaders of more than 50 Asian and European countries and international organizations started their biennial gathering in Brussels to discuss global issues including trade and security challenges.
The leaders are expected to call for promoting free trade and fighting against protectionism, apparently taking aim at U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy, according to a draft summit statement.
They will also urge North Korea “to completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle all its nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles and related program and facilities,” the draft said.
The leaders will adopt the statement when they wrap up the two-day 12th Asia-Europe Meeting summit on Friday. Leaders from the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretariat as well as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev are taking part in the meeting.
At the summit, held this year under the theme “Europe and Asia: Global Partners for Global Challenges,” the participants are also expected to take up other issues such as climate change, ocean plastic pollution, women’s empowerment, terrorism and cyber-security, according to organizers.
The regular summit, held alternatively in Asia and Europe, brings together 53 participants, including leaders from 30 European countries and 21 Asian nations. North Korea is not a member of the group.
The ASEM summit was launched in 1996 to promote dialogue and cooperation between the two continents.