Between 5 and 10 April 2010, Prime Minister of Belgium Yves LETERME and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Steven VANACKERE have paid an official visit to Asia. PM Leterme visited the Republic of Korea first and then headed to Japan, whereas Minister Vanackere visited China before joining the Prime Minister in Tokyo.
PM Leterme met with the Korean President Lee Myung-bak, to discuss, amongst others, the eighth summit of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 8), to take place in Brussels on 4-5 October 2010, and the G20, hosted by the Republic of Korea later this year.
At the Seoul National University, where he was granted an honorary doctorate, PM Leterme stressed the importance of the ASEM dialogue: “it is the main multilateral channel for communication and dialogue between Asia and Europe since 1996, and involves virtually the whole of Asia and Europe. The 45 ASEM partners represent half of the world’s GDP, almost 60% of the world’s population and 60% of global trade.”
Meanwhile in China, Minister Vanackere metPrime Minister Yves LETERME - Lecture Seoul National University (honorary doctorate) - 6 April 2010 (PDF, 6p. - 218 KB) with Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi and exchanged ideas on themes that may be included in the ASEM 8 Summit agenda, such as the stability of the international financial system, economic (im)balance and environmental issues.
In Tokyo, PM Leterme had an official meeting with Prime Minister Hatoyama. He was later joined by Minister Vanackere to attend the opening ceremony of the new and prestigious Belgian Embassy there.