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Peace, development challenges Asia-Pacific

The major challenges face the Asia-Pacific region in the new century are to safeguard regional peace and promote common development, a senior Chinese legislator said in Beijing on Tuesday.

Addressing the Ninth Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), which opened in Beijing on Tuesday, Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress said "the pursuit of peace and development is also the common aspiration of all people in the world and a theme of our time."

Cheng said the world is far from peaceful as hegemonism and power politics still exist and regional conflicts triggered by such factors as race, religion, territories and resources crop up one after another. Forces of separatism, terrorism and extremism continue to endanger the international community.

He pointed to the fact that the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is relatively stable, thanks to policies adopted by most countries that safeguard peace, promote development and expand cooperation, while economies recover gradually from the financial crisis.

There are still factors however affecting regional politics and security, including enhancement of bilateral military alliances and an increase in multi-nation military exercises, Cheng said. He added that the gap between the rich and the poor countries continues to be widened.

Cheng advanced five proposals to promote security and cooperation in the region, including adhering to the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the UN Charter, resolving international disputes through peaceful means, abandoning the Cold War mentality, promoting economic development, and respecting the sovereignty and social systems of all countries.

Cheng noted that as an Asia-Pacific country and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has always been committed to safeguarding regional and world peace and stability. He stressed that China's stability and sustained development will also contribute to the region's continuing growth.

The APPF is an organization designed to promote regional identity and cooperation, especially in peace, democracy and sustainable development. During the three-day meeting, 120 representatives from 25 countries will discuss issues as regional politics and security, the situation in the Korean Peninsula and East Timor, and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

(Xinhua 01/17/2001)

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