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China Pledges to Promote Asia-Europe Cooperation
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Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in Kildare, Ireland, on Saturday that multilateralism provides mankind with an effective way to deal with common challenges and important means to solve international disputes.  

In a keynote speech at a reception for Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) foreign ministers, Li urged Asia and Europe to deepen their equal partnership so as to build a better world and a brighter future for the peoples of the two continents.


"Evolution of effective multilateralism hinges on the establishment of global partnership guided by new concepts of security, development and civilization and based on equality, mutual trust and cooperation," Li told the reception hosted by Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.


"Partnerships should be built on the cornerstone of equal participation in international affairs. Countries, big or small, strong or weak, are equal before international law and basic norms governing international relations," said Li. "The existing international multilateral institution, with the United Nations at its core, is the best venue for all countries to participate in international affairs on an equal footing and the institutional guarantee for democratic and law-based international relations. We have every reason to strengthen it and no excuse to weaken it."


Li made the remarks during the sixth ASEM Foreign Minister's Meeting that has also drawn together foreign ministers from the 15EU states and Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.


"Partnership should be maintained on the basis of mutual trust fostered through dialogue. Countries with different cultures, social systems and ideologies, should have less pride and prejudice but more sense and sensibility. They should commit themselves to democratic consultations or negotiations on the basis of equality and mutual respect, so as to nurture their mutual trust, dissolve misgivings, seek common ground while shelving differences and settle their disputes and conflicts by peaceful means," Li said.


"Accusations, pressure and even arbitrary use of force do not help root out threats or bring about peace. In this regard, it is useful to study the efforts and attempts made by China and other countries concerned in seeking peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula," Li stressed.


"Partnership should be considered through mutually beneficial cooperation. In a world of interdependence, no single country can assure itself of an absolute security on its own or achieve sustainable development in disregard of other's interests," Li added.


Saying that both Asia and Europe are at an important stage in their development, Li pointed out that to deepen the equal partnership between the two continents is consistent with their shared interests and the direction in which multilateralism develops.


"Asia and Europe should work hand in hand to uphold the value and sanctity of the UN Charter, and to reinvigorate the UN by reform. We should endeavor to promote the dialogue and cooperation between the North and South and attain the Millennium Development Goal. We should encourage harmonious coexistence of different civilizations and call for respect and preservation of cultural diversity. Our two sides should make better use of the platform we founded within the ASEM framework, enrich our cooperation and improve its quality, "Li concluded.


(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2004)
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