World Economic Forum on ASEAN

11—13 September 2018 Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Day 2

Last update: 12 Sep 10:42 UTC
00:49 UTC

Day two begins in Ha Noi

Welcome to the second day of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018. We'll be getting going at 08:15 local time with a press conference introducing the meeting's Co-Chairs, who will be overseeing the discussions here.

Two of the Co-Chairs, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the first female finance minister of Indonesia, and Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, are putting gender parity on the agenda.

Here's their op-ed arguing that the future of Asia is female, and a look at the economic impact of closing the gender gap.

01:10 UTC

Surprising advice for Asia's next generation

Before we dive into today's sessions, here's a quick look back at some of the highlights from yesterday's Open Forum session on ASEAN's digital future.

And Malaysia's youngest ever minister also had some unconventional advice for young people:

01:32 UTC

'A historic opportunity for peace' - S Korea

Kang Kyung-Wha, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, talked of a turning point in relations with North Korea.

Speaking at the Co- Chairs' opening press conference for the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018, the minister said:

"For three decades, North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme evolved to be serious and the greatest threat. But now through extensive diplomatic endeavours ... over the past year we have a very real chance to achieve North Korea’s complete denuclearisation and establish lasting peace on the peninsula,"

Unlike previous efforts, the minister said that "the importance of these agreements is they come from the top leadership level."

You can read more about how the two countries communicate here.

Emphasising the opportunity for cementing peace in the region, she said:

"We do have a historic opportunity to realise lasting peace and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula."

02:39 UTC

Zero to hero in three years

In a session on tackling inequality, the CEO of Indonesia's first unicorn, GO-JEK, talked about the potential of digital businesses to lift people out of poverty.

"In three years, a motorcycle company has become the largest employer in Indonesia," said CEO Nadiem Makarim.

A Go-Jek driver rides a motorcycle on a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta - RC14B409FEA0
Image: REUTERS/Beawiharta - RC14B409FEA0

However, only 10% of employees in technology companies are women, said Co-Chair Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, drawing attention to inequalities.

ASEAN is a region where wealth inequality runs deep and is getting worse. Singapore’s GDP per capita of $57,714 compares to Cambodia’s at $1,384 and Myanmar’s at $1,298, while differences within countries are also sharp.

03:59 UTC

Key quotes from the opening plenary

Hu Chunhua, Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, struck out at an increasingly protectionist climate and called for a more open global economy.

"We need to uphold openness and mutual benefits. Self-isolation will lead nowhere."

"China’s resolve to open its doors even wider will not change, we will pursue opening up at its own pace. This will offer opportunities for ASEAN countries and beyond."

One of the clichés often used for the rapid progress developing countries can make in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to "leap frog." Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar, challenged this.

"What we have been engaged with is not mere amphibian hops but quantum leaps," she said.

Leaders from the ASEAN spoke of the need to strengthen the ties between countries in the region to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

"In the Fourth Industrial Revolution and with the rapid march of science and technoloy, ASEAN is known as the cradle of many new and innovative ideas in the world," said Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Viet Nam.

He called for a common ASEAN code on data sharing and further cooperation across the region to benefit from the digital era.

The sentiment was echoed by Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore.

"ASEAN is committed to further economic integration," he said.

"We need to strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system: it has underpinned our growth and stability but is under pressure and under threat."

04:27 UTC

'Thanos won't win', says Avenger Joko Widodo

Indonesia's young President, Joko Widodo, turned to the language of comic books to describe the threats the world faces today.

"Not since the great depression of the 1930s have trade wars erupted with the intensity that they have today but rest assured, I and my fellow avengers stand ready to defend Thanos from wiping out half of the population," he said to applause in the plenary hall.

"We must prevent trade wars from becoming the infinity war," he said, referring to the plot of a Marvel comic turned Hollywood blockbuster.

"You might be wondering – who is Thanos? Thanos is not any individual person. Sorry to disappoint you. Thanos is inside all of us. Thanos is the misguided belief that for us to succeed, the other must surrender, the misconception that the rise of some means the decline of others," he said.

"Infinity wars is not only about trade wars but about each and every one of us relearning the lesson of history that with creativity, energy, collaboration and partnership we shall enjoy abundance, we shall produce not an infinity war but infinite resources."

President Widodo also took a muscular tone on the prospects for his country in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

"This Fourth Industrial Revolution will create more jobs than it destroys. Not only in long term, but also in the short-term."

"This Fourth Industrial Revolution will not increase inequality but will instead decrease inequality."

06:08 UTC

Photos from day 2 in Ha Noi

Here are some of the images from inside the conference centre in Ha Noi - you can follow us on flickr for more.

Kang Kyung-Wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Nazir Razak, Chairman, CIMB Group Holdings, Malaysia capture during the Press Conference: Co-Chairs Press Conference at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, September 12, 2018.Copyright by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary
Kang Kyung-Wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Nazir Razak, Chairman, CIMB Group Holdings, Malaysia capture during the Press Conference: Co-Chairs Press Conference at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, September 12, 2018.Copyright by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary
Image: Sikarin Thanachaiary
Grace Natalie, Chairperson, Indonesian Solidarity Party, Indonesia capture during the session: A New Political Generation at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, September 12, 2018.Copyright by World Economic Forum / Hoang Nguyen
Grace Natalie, Chairperson, Indonesian Solidarity Party, Indonesia capture during the session: A New Political Generation at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, September 12, 2018.Copyright by World Economic Forum / Hoang Nguyen
Image: Sikarin Thanachaiary
Participants capture during the session: A New Kind of Learning? at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, September 12, 2018.Copyright by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary
Participants capture during the session: A New Kind of Learning? at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, September 12, 2018.Copyright by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary
Image: Sikarin Thanachaiary
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia capture during the Press Conference: Co-Chairs Press Conference at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, September 12, 2018.Copyright by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia capture during the Press Conference: Co-Chairs Press Conference at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, September 12, 2018.Copyright by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary
Image: Sikarin Thanachaiary
06:24 UTC

Asia's economic outlook, trade wars

Trade war? What trade war?

Nazir Razak, Chairman of CIMB Group Holdings, said we needed to look beyond the headlines in a session on Asia's economic outlook.

"The headline is trade war, the reality is there’s a lot of opportunity out there....There’s still an awful lot of growth for the economies in this part of the world."

Judy Hsu, regional CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, spoke of "strong fundamentals" in ASEAN.

But there was no denying that the tariff spat between China and the US, rising US interest rates and an emerging market rout all cast a shadow.

Indonesia's finance minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, warned of the "psychological damage" of market turbulence. "The waiting game will need to be carefully managed," she said, as emerging markets risked delaying investments. She said that Indonesia would reduce its deficit and bolster its long-term competitiveness to weather the storm.

Below is a historical look at the relationship between trade and GDP growth, which shows how the two move together.

In a separate session on Trade in Trouble, Victor L. L. Chu, CEO of the First Eastern Investment Group, warned of the danger that today's trade war between China and the US would spill over into geostrategic tension.

10:02 UTC

Start-Ups: Driving Innovation

We've heard a lot about ASEAN's unicorns.

But how do companies get off the ground in the first place? Participants including Tan Hooi Ling, Co-Founder of ride-hailing company Grab, discuss what needs to change to support young entrepreneurs.

The panel also discuss closing the gender gap.

10:28 UTC

A New Vision for the Mekong Region

Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao PDR share a river, a region and a vision. As the session with heads of state gets underway, the World Economic Forum's Justin Wood gives us a quick geography primer.

- Collectively, these five countries have a population of 240 million people.

- If the Mekong was one country it would be the sixth biggest in the world.

- If you added up the countries' GDP, it would be US$800 billion - a G20 economy.

- Collective value of exports is US$466 billion, ninth biggest exporter

"We cherish the Mekong river that we share that has benefited the peoples of our countries," said Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

10:42 UTC

Top headlines and tweets from day 2

Here are some of the headlines from the day so far in Ha Noi:

Asia News Network: Long term gain on the horizon: WEF chairman (Interview with Professor Schwab)

Some tweets from our participants:

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