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China Calls for Greater Roles of NGOs in Asia, Europe

China on Thursday appealed for a more important part of the civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in minimizing threats to human security and building a peaceful world at the ongoing ASEM People's Forum V.

At the four-day forum which wrapped up in Hanoi on Thursday evening, Li Jianping from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, along with delegates from other member countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), emphasized the significance of NGOs and ways of enhancing their operations.

"It is the universal right of all mankind to enjoy a peaceful, just, equal and prosperous world. We, the civil society and NGOs, should certainly play our part in building such a world," Li said at the forum's conference titled Democratization and People's Rights.

The Chinese delegate called for the civil society and NGOs in ASEM member countries to enhance people's friendship, strengthen international cooperation and promote common development, saying, "the increasing demand for people's participation in world affairs has become the trend of our time."

Assuming that conflicts in many places result from no trusting one another of governments or peoples, Li stated, "only by building on a base of trust and friendship among peoples would it be possible to eliminate hostility and hatred," adding that constructing friendship among the peoples, winning support and sympathy of the great majority and isolating the very small minority of terrorist forces is a fundamental solution to eventually root out terrorism.

Regarding international cooperation, Li called for NGOs in Asia to boost their exchanges and cooperation with European counterparts. "Cooperation between Asia and Europe in environmental protection and sustainable development has a bright future. Efforts should also be made by Asian and European NGOs to promote cooperation in the fields of agriculture, science, technology, education and culture."

The Chinese delegate also called on all countries to establish a fair and equitable order in the international political and economic arena, and to make sure that the whole mankind enjoys equal competition and rights.

In a word, Li appealed for NGOs to raise their own capacity, improve the network among NGOs in the world, and publicize UN Charter and Millennium Development Goals. During the forum's conference with 9 workshops, the Chinese delegate and others discussed issues relating to democratization and people's rights, including women's empowerment and human rights. At the forum, over500 representatives of nearly 350 national people's organizations and non-governmental organizations from ASEM members are to touch issues of common interests with the main theme "People's actions for human security in Asia and Europe".

The ASEM People's Forum is a network of organizations in Asia and Europe whose main activities include the organization of parallel civil society conferences on the occasion of the official ASEM summits.

ASEM is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation bringing together 15 European Union member states and the European Commission, with 10 Asian countries, namely China, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.The ASEM dialogue addresses political, economic and cultural issues, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between the two regions.

(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2004)


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