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We are opening tonight the ASEM [Asia-Europe Meeting] Summit. I believe that the presence of 51 countries and the very high level of the delegations – both on the European and on the Asian side – demonstrate how strategically important this relationship is.
We are very much focussing on increasing our partnership with Asia, be it on connectivity, be it on security - we will have the chance to discuss in depth in particular the situation in the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and the developments on the Korean Peninsula, including with the President of South Korea [Moon Jae-in] - or trade. We are signing on the margins of this Summit an important agreement with Singapore; with Vietnam we are proceeding very well; you know that we finalised an agreement with Japan this summer. Together Europe and Asia are upholding the multilateral trade system based on rules, free and fair trade, and in general terms we are partners on the global scene. So I believe that this will be an important opportunity for all of us.
I would like also to mention one last point: it will also be the occasion for us to focus once again on some issues that concern us a lot, in particular on human rights issues. I think of the Rohingya crisis that has always been at the centre of our work - not only on the humanitarian side but also the political work. We will have discussions these days to see how we can try to help the United Nations to have proper access and to have the return of the Rohingya in a safe and dignified manner.
Q: Is this an anti-Trump meeting?
We do not organise meetings against anyone. You know me by now, but this is really the European attitude. We have our agenda. It is a very clear agenda. It is an agenda that supports multilateralism - starting from the UN system - climate change action, free and fair trade, non-proliferation and international agreements that support the non-proliferation global architecture. This is at the centre of our work with different partners around the world and Asia is a very important one.
Q: Will you be discussing the detainment of Reuters journalists in Myanmar?
I believe we will discuss all the different issues on the table – not only in the plenary, but also in the many bilateral meetings we have. By the way, I am just heading to a bilateral meeting with Myanmar.
Q. When are you going to create the new regime to protect Iran from the US sanctions?
This is something that we have presented during the [United Nations] General Assembly ministerial week in New York. The Member States of the European Union have decided to put this system in place, so they are now working on the concrete establishment of this. I am confident that they will continue this work in a successful manner in the coming weeks.
Q. Are you going to seek more cooperation in this case with your partners from Asia?
I have to say that our partners from Asia have always shown a lot of interest in working to keep the full implementation of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – Iran nuclear deal]; obviously for security reasons that also concern Asia and Central Asia. But we tend to forget that Iran is not only a Middle Eastern country; it is also a country that have long borders with Afghanistan for instance, and that has many interests and links with Asia. I have always very much seen the interest and also exactly the same position that we have with our Asian partners on the need to maintain the JCPOA and on the need for Iran to stick to the full compliance to the nuclear commitments taken.
Thank you very much.