Continents Drift Closer

President Jiang Zemin Friday advocated the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) as a role model for cross-continental co-operation.

Addressing the participants of the Third ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Beijing, Jiang said that reciprocal co-operation should be encouraged in all bilateral and multi-lateral relationships.

"Facts prove as long as Asia and Europe can observe the principles of equality and democracy, the two sides will have deeper understanding, more common ground, better co-operation and closer relations," said Jiang.

His words were echoed by Vice-Premier Qian Qichen when he met the foreign ministers participating in the meeting Friday.

Despite their differences in philosophies and policies, Asia and Europe have increased their understanding and trust and expanded co-operation thanks to their regular high-level dialogues and consultations based on equality, said Qian.

The consolidation and development of the partnership based on equality has made Asia and Europe an integral force to contribute to world peace and development, he said.

According to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qian also exchanged views on issues of environmental protection and arms control with the foreign ministers participating in the meeting.

Regarding the question of Taiwan, Qian stressed that peaceful reunification and "one country, two systems" are the basic principles for the resolution of the Taiwan question.

He described the attempt by some people in Taiwan to achieve independence and the international force supporting Taiwan independence as "dangerous" and "doomed."

Foreign ministers from the 26 ASEM members were in Beijing on Thursday and Friday for their discussion on international and regional issues.

The ASEM was established five years ago at the initiation of Singapore. Since then, members from the two continents have co-operated in the fields of politics, economics and trade, science and technology, and environmental protection.

President Jiang, during his speech, encouraged the ASEM to play a greater role in promoting all-around co-operation between the two continents, calling for a long-term programme based on mutual benefit to explore effective measures to deepen co-operation and exchanges.

In addition, the ASEM should become a major channel for exchanges between Eastern and Western civilizations, said Jiang, suggesting a "new Silk Road" be established to boost exchanges between the two continents.

The Silk Road, which spanned from Xi'an in Northwest China to the Mediterranean, was a major route for trade across Eurasia in ancient times. It also facilitated mutual understanding of the civilizations along the route.

Jiang said he hopes the ASEM would become a force to promote the establishment of a new international political and economic order.

"The two continents have mutual interests in maintaining world peace and enhancing common development," said Jiang.

He stressed the importance all countries adhering to the United Nations Charter and the basic principles of international law.

"ASEM should play a constructive role in helping build a just and rational new international political and economic order and carry forward the lofty causes of peace and development of the world," said Jiang.

His words were further stressed by Premier Zhu Rongji when he addressed the participants at the closing ceremony Friday.

There are no fundamental conflicts between Asia and Europe, and the two continents share similar views on many international issues, said Zhu.

The Chinese premier also mentioned the complementarity of the two economies, suggesting there were further opportunities for co-operation.

"Co-operation will lead not only to the further development of countries in Asia and Europe, but also to the building of a more balanced pattern of international relations and world political and economic order," said Zhu.

He also briefed the participants on China's development, stressing that the country will continue its opening-up efforts and actively take part in economic co-operation and competition in the international arena.

( 05/26/2001)

In This Series

Asia, Europe Urged to Increase Cooperation

Europe, Asia to Establish Closer Ties

Foreign Minister on Asia-Europe Cooperation



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