Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi delivers a speech at the opening of the Fifth Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP V) on Thursday June 19, 2008 in Beijing. (Photo by Wang Xinqing)
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has called on Asian and European countries to further promote cooperation and frequent dialogue in a bid to form a new Asia-Europe partnership.
"To seek peace, development and cooperation is the common desire of people in Asia, Europe and beyond," said Yang during his speech at the opening of the Fifth Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP V) here on Thursday.
Politically, both Asia and Europe stand for multi-lateralism and both are major forces in promoting the healthy development of international relations, he said. Economically, both are witnessing steady growth and "our economies have much to offer to each other." Culturally, both Asia and Europe enjoyed cultural diversity, and the two sides had engaged in dynamic dialogue and exchanges.
"Asia and Europe are more than ever closely interconnected and interdependent, promising broader prospects for Asia-Europe cooperation."
As a mechanism connecting Asia and Europe, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) has established itself as an important channel of dialogue and cooperation between the two continents, Yang said.
"It has registered significant progress in the three areas of political dialogue, economic cooperation and social and cultural exchanges."
During more than a decade of development, ASEM has grown in strength, with the number of its partners rising from 26 to 45. This represented 60 percent of the world's population, over 50 percent of the global GDP, and about 60 percent of trade, reflecting a significant rise of representation and influence of the bloc, according to Yang.
He added China had always attached importance to ASEM's process. The country had been represented at each summit by its premier and advocated the ideas of peace, openness, coordination and development.
China had also outlined the fundamental principles on establishing the new Asia-Europe partnership and put forward proposals on promoting political, economic and cultural cooperation between Asia and Europe.
As China was hosting the Seventh ASEM Summit in Beijing on October 24-25 with a theme of "Vision and Action: Towards a Win-Win Solution," with all 45 ASEM partners attending, Yang proposed to encourage ASEM to become a channel for its partners to enhance mutual trust and understanding, coordination and cooperation, in a bid to "adapt to the changing situation and meet the traditional and non-traditional security challenges."
He also proposed to make ASEM an inter-regional platform for comprehensive and practical cooperation in multiple fields, such as economy and trade, finance, science and technology, culture and education.
Asia-Europe cooperation should serve as an example of harmonious coexistence among countries, suggested Yang. "The diversity in terms of history, social system, cultural traditions and levels of economic and trade development of Asian and European countries ... should serve as the basis and the driving force for their exchanges and common progress."
As an important part of the ASEM process, ASEP provided an occasion for discussions on various issues among Asian and European parliaments. Yang hoped the meeting could come up with valuable recommendations to the ASEM 7 Summit.