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Top Legislator: Cooperation Vital for Peace
Top legislator Li Peng Tuesday told some 400 Asian parliament members that cooperation is vital for peace and development of the world's largest continent.

"Asian nations will achieve greater progress and development as long as we give full play to our advantages, maintain the fine traditions of oriental civilization and enhance cooperation and mutual assistance," said Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

Li made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the third general assembly of the Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP), which was held Tuesday in Beijing.

Parliament members from 39 Asian countries attended the ceremony.

"China is ready to work with other nations in Asia and the rest of the world to build a better world featuring peace, development, progress and prosperity," said President Jiang Zemin in his congratulatory letter to the AAPP annual meeting which was read by Vice-President Hu Jintao.

Formally launched in 1999 in Dhaka in Bangladesh, the 36-member AAPP has become the largest regional parliamentary organization in Asia and the most influential platform and channel for dialogue and communication between Asian parliaments and parliament members.

This year's meeting of the AAPP has taken "Peace and Development" as its theme.

"Peace is the prerequisite for promoting development while development serves as an important foundation for maintaining peace," Li said.

The stability and prosperity of Asia have greatly contributed to the peace, stability and development of the world, Li said.

However, Asian nations are still facing political and economic difficulties of varying degrees of seriousness today, he added.

Li said parliaments are "an important part of a country's political system and a bridge between people and government," and their members should assume more responsibility and play a more active role in maintaining peace and development in both the region and the world.

Norodom Ranarith, president of the Cambodian National Assembly and president of the AAPP, agreed with Li, saying that peace, stability and cooperation among Asian nations are vital for the promotion of development.

All Asian nations should follow the principles of the United Nations Charter to maintain global peace and promote the development of humankind, said Najma Heptulla, president of the Council of Inter-parliamentary Union.

Li suggested that Asian parliaments enhance exchanges and mutual learning in building democracy and legal systems, strengthen cooperation in regional and global affairs, and increase contacts among their leaders.

Li said the AAPP is an important organization that can help Asian nations strengthen regional inter-parliamentary cooperation and exchanges.

(China Daily April 17, 2002)

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