Berlin, September 10, 2011
Asia’s rise has elicited both anticipation and anxiety to bear on the current state of international affairs. While some view the present world order as a crisis of global leadership, others especially in the East see the positive emergence of a more representative and equitable order, where the global distribution of power shifts from the West to the East. Whatever the consequences of Asia’s rise for the international order are, it has become widely recognised that the myriad security challenges we faced today, which are likely to be global as they are regional, requires greater coordination and cooperation between Europe and Asia.
The 149th Bergedorf Round Table deliberated on the rise of the New East and its arising implications for the global order. Critical issues discussed include areas where Europe and Asia could strengthen partnership as well as identifying key priorities for mutual cooperation. Another main focus of the discussion examined how both Europe and Asia could tackle shared security challenges.
Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Bergedorf Round Table, the 149th Bergedorf Round Table was chaired by former German President Richard von Weizsäcker. At the invitation of Federal President Christian Wulff, the Round Table was held at Schloss Bellevue, where the President delivered an opening speech at the Round Table.
In his opening speech, President Wulff commended Körber Foundation for its contributions to international understanding between the West and the East through the Bergedorf Round Table in the past 50 years. President Wulff said that the world was currently witnessing the re-emergence of Asia. While recognising the importance of Asia, he reminded participants at the Round Table that the continual rise of Asia was not guaranteed given both the political and security challenges in the region including territorial disputes and potential domestic upheavals as a result of the lack of economic and political participation by the people.
President Wulff acknowledged that the current international system was often perceived as too Western oriented. There was a need to encourage the restructuring of existing global institutions to give Asian partners a greater voice. This could prompt Asian countries towards greater commitment as responsible stakeholders in the global order. In concluding, President Wulff pointed out that despite differences and diversity, it stood to reason that there were common values that people both in the East and the West would aspire to, such as fairness, justice and the rights to vote and participate politically.
Among the eminent participants were Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of the Republic of Singapore; Wang Jiarui, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee; Frank-Walter Steinmeier, MdB, Chairman of the SPD Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag and fmr. Federal Foreign Minister as well as Katsuya Okada, Member of the House of Representatives of the Japanese Parliament and fmr. Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan.