Asia sounds alarm over high oil prices

The finance ministers of China, Japan and South Korea have warned that high oil prices pose a serious risk to regional economies.

    The ministers said rising prices could affect regional economies

    The ministers said on Tuesday they would welcome efforts to increase energy supplies in order to lower prices.

    The three met in Istanbul before the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank, which opens on Wednesday.

    "The prospects of the three countries' economic growth for 2005 are positive although the continuous high oil price may pose a major risk to the regional economy," the ministers - Japan's Sadakazu Tanigaki, China's Jin Renqing and Han Duck-soo of South Korea - said in a joint statement.

    The statement said the three welcome efforts to increase medium-term energy supplies and efficiency, including the encouragement of dialogue between oil-producing and oil-consuming nations.

    The three also agreed to make concerted efforts to boost their representation in international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the statement said. Asian powers have repeatedly said they are under-represented in such institutions.

    China-Japan ties

    Earlier, the head of the Asian Development Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, addressed recent tensions between China and Japan, saying they were unlikely to disrupt economic ties between the two countries, but adding that economic ties could be hurt if the strains persisted.

    Economic ties have not yet been
    affected by China-Japan tensions

    "If the tension between Asia's two largest economies is prolonged, it could undermine further integration of economies in the region," Kuroda said.

    Violent anti-Japanese riots involving tens of thousands of people broke out in Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities last month after Tokyo approved the use of history textbooks critics say play down Japan's wartime aggression.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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