Tuesday, May 29, 2012

World Economic Forum to focus on ‘connectivity’

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 12:23 Mizzima News

The upcoming 21st World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok will concentrate on building up regional connectivity, organizers told the media on Monday.

“This year's meeting is an exceptional opportunity not only for leaders from East Asia, but also from outside the region, as the Asean countries are a major evolving geopolitical and geo-economic pillar of the global economy,” Sushant Palakurthi Rao, a senior director and head of Asia for the World Economic Forum, told a press conference in Bangkok.

Aung San Suu Kyi among her supporters outside the NLD headquarters in Rangoon. Photo: Mizzima

Rao confirmed that Burma’s President Thein Sein has canceled plans to attend the forum, which opens on Wednesday, but he said that Thein Sein said he would visit Thailand several days later.

Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to attend the forum, where she will take part in a one-on-one conversation and attend a forum on women’s roles and issues.

Rao warned against the risks that would disrupt the long-term economic growth of the region and underlined the need of working together to minimize negative impacts.

“Our meeting is taking place at a time of tremendous economic and political transformation. Therefore, enhancing connectivity in the region will be critical to the region's future growth,” he said.

More than 630 participants, some 200 more than expected, from 50 countries will gather in Bangkok from Wednesday to Friday to exchange views on regional cooperation under the theme “Shaping the Region's Future through Connectivity.”

Four heads of state or government from Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam will attend, and more than 450 business leaders together with other members of civil society and academia.

Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, said his government was prepared in terms of organizing and security for the meeting.

“The World Economic Forum on East Asia will not only be a great opportunity to showcase Thailand's progress in the economic and political sphere, but will also be a good chance for government and business leaders from around the world to discuss how to increase bilateral and regional cooperation,” he said.

Rao hailed Thailand as an ideal place to host this year' s forum.

“Thailand is Asean's second largest economy and one of the driving forces of regional economy. It is also surrounded by emerging economies and connects two giants, China and India,” he said.

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