Asian nations 'will work with West on economic crisis'

European and Asian nations have agreed to work more closely together to deal with the global economic crisis, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said today after the first day of talks at a summit in China.

The 43-nation Asia-Europe Meeting called for new international regulation and a stronger role for the International Monetary Fund in helping nations facing serious crises.

It comes ahead of an emergency meeting in Washington next month, which will bring together the leaders of the world’s 20 most important economies for urgent discussions to agree solutions.

Mr Miliband said the meeting had highlighted the significant shift in economic power towards the east but also how interlocked everybody’s interests were in tackling “deep imbalances” in the system.

“I don’t think it’s just the fact that we are meeting in The Great Hall of the People and we listened to the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party talking about the need to prop up global capital markets that brings home to one that there is this big shift in economic power,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“But what is also clear is that there’s been an increase in economic vulnerability: the Pakistani prime minister was here talking about how his country is now threatened with an economic tsunami.

“And what has come out of this meeting I think is renewed commitment to multilateral co-operation, deeper multilateral co-operation, above all in the area of financial regulation. And I think it has been important in setting up the Washington meeting that our Prime Minister will be going to on November 15.”

Mr Miliband said that despite a sense that the West had criticised Asia over an economic slump 10 years ago, there was no “finger-pointing” in reverse this time.

“There has actually been a sense of shared commitment to resolving it and I think the reason for that is that while the financial crisis has dominated the headlines in the last three or four weeks, most people can see that there are deeper imbalances in the world economy that need to be addressed and that actually are part of the global economic downturn.

“It’s not just a financial problem we’ve got; it’s a more fundamental issue of economic imbalance.”

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