Cowen convinced of Irish potential
Taoiseach Brian Cowen claims he is more convinced than ever of Ireland's huge potential in Asia after he held informal talks with China's premier at the Asia-Europe Summit.
Mr Cowen said he met a number of heads of Government, including Wen Jiabao, in the margins of the two-day event in Brussels.
He said the meetings provided a platform allowing Ireland to reach out to the two key markets of Asia and Europe.
The Taoiseach recently held meetings in Dublin with a senior Communist Party of China official, where the pair discussed trade, investment, culture, education and agriculture.
Mr Cowen said: "Coming on top of my recent meeting with Mr Li Changchun of China, I am more convinced than ever that there is huge potential for Ireland in Asia and the Government's new strategy for trade, investment and tourism will seek to tap into this in a very proactive way."
The meeting brought together the leaders of 46 European and Asian countries, representing half of the world's gross domestic product and almost two thirds of global trade.
Leaders dealt with a wide range of issues of interest to both regions, including global financial and economic governance, sustainable development and international co-operation.
During the summit Mr Cowen gave a keynote address on disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation recalling Ireland's strong association with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as it was the first country to both sign and ratify it.
Mr Cowen called for a renewed effort to ensure the treaty's full implementation.
The Taoiseach described the NPT as the cornerstone of Irish foreign policy and called for states not party to the treaty to adhere to it.