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Written Remarks At the Eighth ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting

2007-05-29

Written Remarks At the Eighth ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting
Yang Jiechi
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Colleagues,

I am delighted to join you here today in Hamburg. I wish to thank our host, Germany, for its thoughtful arrangement and warm hospitality.

The world today is moving toward multi-polarity amidst twists and turns, and economic globalization is gathering momentum. To pursue development and cooperation in a peaceful environment is the common desire of mankind. However, instability and discord still exist in the world. Conflicts in some regions keep flaring up, traditional and non-traditional security threats are closely connected, the global economic development remains imbalanced, and there is mounting pressure on resources and environment. In this new international environment, Asia and Europe are more closely associated with and inter-dependent upon each other. They have a shared need for development, face the same opportunities, and they must jointly overcome common difficulties and meet the same challenges.

ASEM, as the most important platform of dialogue and exchanges between Asia and Europe, is now at the beginning of its second decade. A decision was made at the Helsinki Summit last year to accept six new partners, and the foreign ministers of these countries are with us today. I wish to extend to you my congratulations and look forward to maintaining close ties and cooperation with you within the framework of ASEM.

After two rounds of expansion, ASEM now has 45 partners, which include major countries in northeast Asia, southeast Asia and south Asia as well as the enlarged European Union. ASEM enjoys a growing international prestige, and it has created broader prospects for Asia-Europe cooperation. But we also face many challenges, such as the need to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our dialogue. We should be visionary and innovative and endeavor to raise Asia-Europe cooperation to a higher level in the next decade. To this end, I propose the following steps be taken.

1. Promote multilateralism and enhance political dialogue and mutual trust. Multilateral cooperation has proved an effective way of meeting challenges commonly faced by mankind, and a major means of addressing international disputes. For multilateral cooperation to work, the key is to forge partnership based on equality, mutual trust and cooperation and achieve peace and security through dialogue and consultation. To build consensus through dialogue has become a defining feature of Asia-Europe political dialogue. We should increase exchange of views and consultation in the United Nations and other multilateral institutions to increase the influence of Asia and Europe in international affairs. We should promote effective settlement of hotspot issues and disputes in some regions such as Afghanistan, Iraq, the Iranian nuclear issue, the Korean nuclear issue, and the Middle East, and strengthen anti-terrorism and non-proliferation cooperation to contribute more to upholding world peace and stability.

2. Strengthen practical cooperation and promote balanced growth of the world economy. Both Asia and Europe are major participants in economic globalization. Our economies have a lot to offer one another, and there is huge potential for cooperation. We should explore specific and effective ways to enhance comprehensive exchanges and cooperation in trade, banking, science and technology, education and among our small- and medium-sized enterprises. We should move from dialogue to action and deepen our cooperation, which is now general in nature, so that our peoples will truly benefit from it.

Since this year, the parties concerned have demonstrated more flexibility on the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, leading to formal and full resumption of the negotiations. China welcomes this development. The Doha Round is a development round. The parties concerned should make greater efforts to ensure true benefits for developing members and balanced growth of the world economy. As important members of the multilateral trading regime, countries in Asia and Europe should urge the parties concerned to act with greater political courage and with vision, and make sure that the Doha development agenda produce balanced and win-win progress. China will continue to work with the parties concerned and jointly play a constructive role in completing the negotiations.

3. Strengthen partnership to ensure energy security and effectively respond to the challenge of climate change. International energy cooperation is an important means for ensuring overall energy security. In this area, ASEM partners should promote mutually beneficial cooperation, diversified energy development and coordination to ensure energy supply. Climate change is, in the final analysis, a development issue. As such, it should be addressed in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" in the context of sustainable development. Developed countries have a quite long history of industrialization and emissions. They have attained a high level of development, and they have strong economies and advanced, clean and efficient energy technologies. They should continue to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and honor their commitment of providing financial assistance and technology transfer to developing countries. China has adopted and is adopting a series of policy measures in light of its national conditions to promote development and environmental protection and address climate change. We will strengthen exchanges and cooperation with ASEM partners on climate change.

4. Respect diversity and promote dialogues among cultures and civilizations. Mutual assimilation of different cultures and coexistence of different religions have been an integral part of human progress. ASEM partners belong to different civilizations, both East and West, and the main religions in the world. Dialogue among cultures and civilizations has in recent years become a very active area of ASEM. We should fully respect differences and diversity in ethnicity, religion and civilization, continue to have dialogue on an equal footing, and advocate tolerance, exchange, dialogue and coexistence and oppose discrimination, exclusion, confrontation and conflict. China will host the third ASEM inter-faith dialogue in June, which will discuss the issue of how religion can play its unique role in the building of a harmonious society and a harmonious world. We welcome your active participation in this dialogue.

In the past decade since its founding, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has made important contribution to promoting social and cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe. China places great value on and supports the work of ASEF. We have jointly hosted many activities with ASEF. To support ASEF, the Chinese Government will increase its contribution to ASEF by 20% starting from this year. We hope that ASEF will play a greater role in increasing the exchanges and understanding between the Asian and European peoples.

Mr. Chairman,

At this foreign ministers' meeting, we will build on past achievements to promote future progress. At the Helsinki Summit last year, our leaders took stock of the progress of ASEM in the past decade, identified priorities in Asia-Europe dialogue and cooperation in the coming years, approved a number of cooperation initiatives and adopted the recommendation on improving the working methods. We need to take steps to implement the decision made at the Summit. ASEM should make full use of the opportunity offered by its enlargement and the wider range of cooperation, make its meetings at various levels and in various areas more effective and strengthen coordination and management of its follow-up actions. China will host the 7th ASEM Summit in October next year and preparations have begun. I look forward to working closely with you to advance the ASEM process.

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