Appreciating the positive role of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in China's modernization program, the country is ready to deepen its cooperation with ADB, Chinese President Jiang Zemin said Friday in Shanghai.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the 35th ADB Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors, Jiang praised ADB's important contributions to Asia's economic development over the years, saying that China admires the tremendous job ADB has done in facilitating regional efforts to remove poverty and the significant results it has achieved in promoting sub-regional economic cooperation in Asia.
Jiang hoped that ADB would provide still more preferential funds to the developing members so that they can make greater headway in poverty reduction and productivity enhancement.
He expected that ADB will keep up its vigorous support to regional and sub-regional cooperation in Asia, help forge closer partnership among its members and uphold the just and objective development concepts and development policies, and work more actively for the establishment of a new economic order in Asia and around the world.
Opportunities, Challenges Await Asia
Jiang called upon greater efforts from Asian nations, faced with opportunities as well as challenges, to the progress of human civilization in the 21st century.
Jiang said that while enjoying, on the whole, a situation of peace and stability, Asia possesses enormous potential and advantages for development as it remains the world's most dynamic economic region.
The rapid economic globalization drive and scientific and technological progress are all conducive to Asian countries' use of international capital and advanced know-how and their access to the international market, thus accelerating the development of their own economies. However, the security situation in certain Asian areas allows little optimism and the fight against terrorism needs to go still deeper.
In conclusion, economic globalization, while generating development opportunities, has added uncertainties to world economic environment and made it harder for the developing economies within the region to restructure and fend off the external shocks.
In order to seize the opportunities, meet the challenges and accelerate development, Asian countries should step up their own efforts and work in closer regional cooperation with Asian characteristics, said Jiang.
Asian countries vary in national conditions, development levels and cultures. Rather than an obstacle to regional cooperation, this will make stronger Asian cooperation all the more meaningful. Such cooperation will help Asian countries further expand their market and use their resources more extensively, promote a rational development of world multipolarization and economic globalization, and contribute to greater peace and prosperity in the world.
It is gratifying to note that thanks to concerted efforts of Asian countries, regional cooperation in Asia has been growing ever stronger in recent years. With the preliminary establishment of such cooperation mechanisms as the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation, East Asian Cooperation, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and others, an open, healthy and mutually beneficial cooperation pattern has taken shape.
Proposals for Asian Regional Cooperation
President Jiang put forward four proposals for the reinforcement drive of regional cooperation in Asia.
He suggested that Asian nations, first of all, make concerted efforts to cultivate a political environment of mutual understanding and good neighborliness bearing in mind the overall interests of development in Asia.
Second, it is necessary to carry out the principles of consultations on an equal footing, reciprocity and mutual benefit to give full expression to the equal rights and common interests of all parties.
Third, while sticking to the principles of diversity in forms and gradual progress, Asian countries ought to base themselves on the existing cooperative mechanisms and constantly explore new ways of cooperation, centering first and foremost on closer sub-regional cooperation and probing for, on such basis, effective approaches to Asian cooperation.
Finally, Asian countries should continue to pursue the open regionalism so that Asian cooperation will provide the world's other regions with fresh development opportunities while tapping the development potential within the region.
Development of Asia and World
Jiang pointed out that deep changes have taken place in the international situation, while peace and development remain overriding themes of our times. It has become the common desire of all countries for peace and stability rather than war and turmoil, and to achieve prosperity and progress rather than poverty and underdevelopment.
Continuous surge of world multipolarization and economic globalization, modern sciences advancement spearheaded by IT and life science, along with the fervent hope for lasting peace and universal prosperity of the people around the world, are all conducive to bring about bright prospects for the lofty cause of peace and development, according to the Chinese president.
Jiang also named some of the negative aspects in the international development drive. The unfair and inequitable old international political and economic order, local wars, tensions and turbulences, terrorism and other non-traditional security problems, uneven economic development around the world, the severe difficulties facing a number of developing countries, the widening gap between the South and the North, and uncertainties in the international situation, jointly post tough challenges to the cause of peace and development.
He proposed that at such a crucial moment, the government and people of all countries should go along with the trend of the times by enhancing exchanges and cooperation, carefully mapping out and persisting in the right direction of world development and working together to create a new century of peace and development.
Peace and Prosperity, Common Aspirations of World People
Jiang pointed out that, in the new century, what the people of all lands are desiring so much is a world of lasting peace and universal prosperity.
He said China hosted the 22nd Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors in Beijing thirteen years ago, and since then, profound changes have taken place both in China and around the world.
The president expressed his delight that China is hosting such an important event once again at this historic juncture.
(People's Daily May 10, 2002)