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The third Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Seoul last weekend was long on ceremony and performance, but short on substance. While impeccably hosted by South Korea and held in a glittering new conference center in southern Seoul, the conference lacked “soul.” For all the talk of Partnership for Shared Stability and Prosperity in the 21st century, there was no sense that this particular partnership would make much of a difference.

While South Korea got a bounce from ASEM, the same cannot be said for the latter. Although the meeting was touted as a historic milestone in the group’s evolution, in reality, South Korea’s good fortune did not really energize the ASEM process.

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