GUANGZHOU - The ASEM Media Dialogue on Connectivity opened here Monday in which 200 delegates from different countries of Europe and Asia are participating to synergize media efforts in enhancing mutual understanding and addressing issues of common concern.

The participating media representatives, diplomats and business leaders would share ideas for further promoting cooperation and enhancing connectivity among member states during the two day event, centered on the theme of "Promoting Public Awareness and Partnership".

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established in 1996, is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation, bringing together European and Asian countries with the objective of strengthening the relationship between the two regions, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

The Media Dialogue comes ahead of the 11th ASEM Summit, to be held in Monogolia in July this year. The 10th Summit was hosted by Vietnam. At the same time various meeting, seminars and conferences would be organised in different member countries.

Opening the Dialogue on Connectivity at the luxurious Garden Hotel of Guangzhou, Assistant Minister of Chinese Foreign Ministry, Qian Hongshan said promotion of connectivity "is both the motive for the launch of the ASEM initiative as well as the priority of its future development."

Besides Qian, Guo Weimin, vice minister of the State Council Information Office was also there to represent the host country at the event being jointly sponsored by Pakistan, China, Mongolia, Singapore and Bangladesh.

Speakers at the opening session termed the holding of the Dialogue as a major strategy conforming to the historical trend and meeting practical needs.

They were of the unanimous view that the global economy had witnessed great volatility in the past few years with growth expectations lowered continuously and a much slower growth rate of world trade.

Long plagued by the debt crisis and aging population, the foundation for economic recovery of the developed economies remained week; faced with increasing economic and financial risks. As a result of this, the economic growth rate of the emerging economies slowed down significantly, they said.

They argued that the era of ‘Big Connectivity’ had already arrived. It is a historical progress and a kind of development strength, they said, and added with ASEM’s 20th anniversary as a new starting point, let this progress be spread ahead and this strength accumulated so that we could create a new chapter of Asia-Europe cooperation with new momentums generated by connectivity.

Chinese Minister Qian Hongshan said connectivity is essential for economic cooperation, commercial trade, investment and personal exchanges among regions.

He said if Asia and Europe would achieve better connectivity, Eurasia would become the largest common market in the world, the huge external benefits of which would be shared by all Asian and European countries.

He was of the view that ASEM was a vital platform and media stands at an important position and its input could be the key to move forward in the next decade.

Mr Qian further said that as the two biggest continents, both in terms of population and economy, Asia and Europe were playing significant roles in the world economy. Whereas, Asia is the most economically dynamic region, Europe holds a leading position in terms of innovation and regional integration, he added.

The minister said as economies and regions were increasingly becoming interdependent, the neend and demand for better connectivity between the two continents was strongest ever.

After the inaugural session, two separate sessions on the ‘Relevance and Role of Media as a Major Stakeholder and ‘Harnessing the Power of New Media’ were held respectively where selective participants remained engaged for two hours.

The moderators of these sessions would present a wrap-up in Tuesday’s (today) session of the dialogue. The Plenary Session titled ‘Dialogue Between Media and Business’ was held in the afternoon.

Before the closing ceremony on Tuesday, Session 3 would be discussing ‘Visibility and Sustainability of ASEM Beyond 2016’.

Talking to the Nation, an official of the ASEM Secretariat said that this forum was entering into third decade and it was important that pace of projects be enhanced to meet the fixed targets.