In his address at the Nikkei Forum on the Future of Asia in Tokyo, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that Asia has become the global economic powerhouse and the most dynamic region, with its economy already comparable in size to those of Europe and North America.
President Wickremesinghe highlighted Asia's significance as the world's largest economy, home to 60% of the global population and a major contributor to global growth. He emphasized the region's potential for continued growth, supported by China's recovery, India's domestic demand, and the contributions of advanced economies like Japan and South Korea.
President Wickremesinghe also focused on trade integration, debt sustainability and the risks faced by Asian countries, emphasizing the importance of upholding the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core, rejecting economic coercion and decoupling.
As such, the President underscored three major challenges faced by Asia as democratic values and human rights, climate change, and trade integration.
"It is regrettable that as many as eight of the fifteen countries affected by climate change are from Asia," he added.
Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe emphasized that Asian countries should not be forced to choose between big powers highlighting the economic interdependence between ASEAN countries and China.
President Wickremesinghe, addressing the Nikkei Forum also supported a cooperative approach by Japan and called for open-ended dialogues among Japan, China, India and ASEAN, adding that it is crucial for the emergence of a peaceful and prosperous Asian region.