The EU and Asia
Asia, with more than half the world’s population and with several major countries growing rapidly, is becoming increasingly a priority for the EU. Originally relations between the EU and Asia were focused on trade and economic development, but now it is seeking to develop political relationships involving its three ‘strategic partners’ – China, India and Japan. The EU is also supporting regional integration efforts such as the ASEAN and the SAARC. Europe-Asia region-to-region meetings are conducted through the ASEM process. The EU has struggled to secure acceptance in the region as an actor. It has perhaps secured most recognition from China, but this may be due to Beijing’s interest in securing an ally in its dealings with the US. In 2006 more EU Commissioners visited China than went to any other country.