“World media has been abuzz with America's ‘Asia Pivot’ and President Barack Obama's groundbreaking trip to Rangoon,” began the EUobserver, as it called for Europe to further engage with Central Asia and China. The plea comes as EU foreign policy and security chief Catherine Ashton chaired the EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting in Kyrgyzstan on November 27, at the start of a three-day tour of the region. The EUobserver added that Europe has long overlooked the region, which is rich in energy resources, but that this may soon change –

As 2014 approaches and the need for greater focus on Central Asia is going to grow, a breach opens into which Europe has an opportunity to have its own 'Asia Pivot' focused instead on China's western flank... Europe's aim should be not just to continue to do the development work and infrastructure projects that it has long done, but rather to focus on developing its economic and trade links to the region.

Closer engagement could boost regional security programmes, strengthen border security and stem the flow of narcotics out of neighbouring Afghanistan, the website continued. It added –

Clearly there is a delicate balance that needs to be struck here with regards to human rights – but simply lecturing is not going to get the answers or responses that we want. Europe needs a way to stay relevant in Asia – focusing on its connective tissue across the Eurasian landmass offers a currently underexplored vehicle.