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The Fourth Foreign Ministerial Meeting of FEALAC Opens in Japan

On the morning of January 16, 2010, the fourth Foreign Ministerial Meeting of the Forum for East Asian-Latin American Cooperation (FEALAC) opened in Tokyo, Japan. Foreign ministers and government representatives from 34 East Asian and Latin American countries will discuss how to strengthen cooperation between the two regions in coping with such global issues as economic crisis and climate change.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said in his opening speech that East Asia and Latin America are the source of the future world economic growth. He has been promoting the initiative for an East Asian community since he took office in September last year, and to deepen cooperation with Central and South American countries on this basis has great significance. He looks forward to conducting meaningful discussions with other participants.

Hatoyama noted that FEALAC has existed for ten years and participants should promote the development of the organization for another 10 years in a future-oriented attitude. As the host country of APEC meetings this year, Japan will reflect the outcome of this meeting to the APEC meetings.

Talking about the recent massive earthquake hitting Haiti, he said that participating countries should offer help to Haiti’s earthquake relief and Japan, as an earthquake-prone country, will make the best possible contribution based on its own earthquake relief experience. He pointed out that cooperation at such moment is one of the missions of FEALAC.

Foreign ministers, deputy foreign ministers or their representatives from 34 countries in Asia and Latin America attended the two-day meeting, including Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on behalf of the Chinese government. Participants will discuss four major topics of environment and sustainable development, economic and financial crisis, social inclusion and harmony and FEALAC’s blueprint in the next 10 years. The meeting will wrap up after adopting the Tokyo Declaration on January 17, 2010.

Initiated by former Prime Minister of Singapore Gho Chok Tong in 1998, FEALAC held its first Senior Officials’ Meeting in Singapore in 1999 and first Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Chile in 2001 which adopted the forum’s basic framework. There are Foreign Ministerial Meeting, Senior Officials’ Meeting and 3 working groups under FEALAC, with the Foreign Ministerial Meeting as the highest division. FEALAC is composed of 33 countries, including 15 in Asia and 18 in Latin America. Major members are China, Japan, ASEAN countries, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela. Mongolia will join FEALAC as a new member at the fourth Foreign Ministerial Meeting.

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