Vietnam hosts World Economic Forum on East Asia

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The World Economic Forum on East Asia opened Sunday in Ho Chi Minh City, the first time the gathering has been held in Vietnam.

Over 400 decision-makers from businesses around the globe, as well as Asian government leaders and officials and representatives from world economic organizations have gathered in the southland's economic hub to discuss regional financial policies and leadership in the East Asian region.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, World Trade Organization (WTO) director general Pascal Lamy and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretary general Surin Pitsuwan are among the most notable dignitaries at the 19th forum, according to organizers.

Under the theme "Rethinking Asia's Leadership Agenda", the two-day forum will focus on the political, social and economic role of the East Asian region in the global economic recovery and regional development.

Discussions will focus on tackling corruption, battling high unemployment, and ways to reduce the threat of climate change. The forum also aims to call for Asian integration amid the region's immense diversity and variance in political, religious and societal value systems.

Leaders are expected to discuss ways to prevent new bubbles in economic markets and voice their ideas about sustainable development trends in the region.

The program will explore the many facets of the region's rising economic influence, such as how high-growth economies can improve their competitiveness through developing innovation-driven, green economies.

"Asia is rebounding very quickly from the financial crisis and undoubtedly has a head-start on the global economic recovery," said director of World Economic Forum in Asia Sushant Palakurthi Rao.

"By holding the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Vietnam, we will be in a country that exemplifies the dynamism of this region."

Vietnam's deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Doan Xuan Hung said "the diverse discussion model of the forum will be an ideal platform for Vietnam and other countries to share with participants best practices and the different development orientations the regional and world economy have taken towards the recovery process."

Hung added that in assuming the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2010, hosting the forum would help his country to broaden the opportunities for better understanding and policy cohesion among countries in the region and other partners in the world to cope with current challenges and drive economies towards sustainable growth.

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