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Dr Singh meets world leaders in Beijing

October 24, 2008 13:13 IST

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Friday met his Italian and Vietnamese counterparts as well as the president of Mongolia in Beijing [Images] and exchanged views with them on bilateral ties and the raging global economic turmoil.

Dr Singh, who arrived in Beijing on Thursday night from Tokyo to attend the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit, kicked off his official engagements with a bilateral meeting with Mongolian President Namaryn Enkhbayar.

He also had separate meetings with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Tan Dung.

The two-day ASEM Summit will be formally inaugurated on Friday evening. This is the first time India will be participating in an ASEM Summit.

"Our participation in this summit is a natural corollary of our close and growing ties with countries in Asia and Europe," Dr Singh had said earlier.

Dr Singh is scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday on the sidelines of the ASEM Summit.

Apart from discussing strategies to face the financial turmoil, the summit will also draw the leaders' attention to other topics of energy, climate change and food security.

Launched in 1996 as an informal dialogue mechanism, ASEM now included 45 members, a body representing over 50 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

The European side is represented by 27 European Union nations and the European Commission.

The Asian members count 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, Japan [Images], South Korea, India, Pakistan, Mongolia and the ASEAN Secretariat.

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