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ASEM talks overshadowed by Philippines typhoon

More than 30 foreign ministers from Europe and Asia have met in New Delhi for latest ASEM meeting. The conference, which is slated to cover growth and development, has been overshadowed by the deadly Philippines typhoon.

The two-day ASEM (Asia Europe Meeting) talks opened on Monday under the theme "Bridge to Partnership for Growth and Development." In attendance is German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who expressed his belief in the importance of bringing the two continents together.

"We don't just want to invest in Asia, but rather increase investment from Asia in Europe," he said.

Before traveling to India, Westerwelle said "networking with the world economically and politically" was the key to Germany's success in a time of globalization.

Asia provides "tremendous opportunity" for Germany, he added. "Therefore, a dialogue and exchange on an equal footing like in New Delhi is so important."

Overshadowed by Philippines typhoon

However, the conference was dampened by the recent devastating typhoon in ASEM member country the Philippines.

Over the weekend, the German government pledged 500,000 euros ($670,000) to help with relief efforts, and German aid workers have already traveled to the country.

"Germany is ready to help with rebuilding," said Westerwelle.

ASEM, which includes the 27 European Union countries, two non-EU states and 20 Asian nations, first began in 1996. More than 60 percent of the world's population lives in its 51 member states. ASEM nations account for around 63 percent of world trade in total.

In addition to international trade ASEM covers climate change, the fight against terrorism and disarmament.

dr/jr (dpa, AFP)