New Asia Society chief aims to tackle US-Asia 'challenges'

NEW YORK (AFP) - Asia and the United States (US) must be ready for "challenges and difficulties", Ms Josette Sheeran, the new head of the prestigious Asia Society, said on Tuesday, as she was named to the post.

Ms Sheeran, a former head of the UN World Food Programme, said "this is the century of the Americas as well as Asia".

"There will be innovation and cooperation, but there will also be challenges and difficulties," Ms Sheeran told AFP.

The independent Asia Society, based in New York but also with offices in Hong Kong, has become a key policy forum as the US increasingly pushes strategic resources into the Asia-Pacific region.

It has also sought to use cultural and artistic exchanges to smooth over sometimes prickly relations since it was started in 1956.

Ms Sheeran, whose specialty has been the fight against hunger at the WFP, said the society can "help draw out the skills and innovation" from emerging powers such as China.

"Through its experience tackling many development issues, Asia has shown that there can be no long term solution to problems such as hunger unless it is involved," she said.

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