Sunday, November 4, 2012

Some pictures, impressions and links from ASEM 9

Vientiane is occupied by foreign countries, but this time for good: 60 something leaders (or their delegates) gathering in Laos capital for the ASEM 9 summit. Not much outcome is expected, since the size is too big for a workshop meeting, but at least some bilateral talks might be successful here and there. Also, the Europeans want to convince their Chinese and some other major Asian business partners that everything is under control in Europe. So, the mainstream story reads like that:
Dozens of European and Asian leaders gathered in impoverished Laos on Monday for a major summit dominated by the eurozone debt crisis and growing territorial tensions in the region. Top European officials including French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti were due to spearhead efforts to reassure Asia that the long-running eurozone crisis is finally coming under control. The diplomatic offensive is seen as a sign of the growing importance that debt-laden Europe places on Asia's fast-growing economies, and its desire to counter increased US engagement in the region.
Then, there is some concern about the venue (or better the place where the leaders are supposed to sleep. And there are the side stories, like Austria's State Secretary of Finance Andreas Schieder (turns his back to the street in the picture, but yes, it's him) who decided to stop his convoy right in front of the Joma Cafe to get - a coffee. Police was a bit surprised since they were told parking isn't allowed at Setthathirat road, but nobody was thinking about if this rule applies to the delegates as well.
The Russian Prime Minister Medvedev arrived in his own bullet proof limousine (a quite old one, actually), while the German foreign Minister Westerwelle came in a regular Mercedes (I think all this Mercedes purchased for the summit aren't bullet proof at all). Yinluck from Thailand came quite early, while some Finish delegates were seen cruising around for quite a while. What is a big surprise so far is the work of the traffic police: Haven't seen traffic going so smooth like in this days. The fact that school are closed and many government officials are working for the summit eases the traffic already, but even the rehearsals done last week had a pretty good outcome. So Kudos this time for the Lao Traffic police. The fact that we have a curfew from 10pm on is something I can handle. There isn't nothing to after 10pm anyway, in particular Monday and Tuesday. (Not that I think there is a vibrant nightlife on weekends). So as proud the Lao people are these days because of the summit, the even more quiet is the city, it is actually quite nice again to sit outside in the Benoni Cafe without having an hourlong traffic jam in front of you. More links about the summit: (Official Website) Press release from the European Union Wikipedia about ASEM Official Theme Song, in Lao, no subtitles, so much about the international spirit (Video)

No comments:

Post a Comment