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Asian Countries Team Up at Forum

The name speaks volumes for what it stands for.

The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) serves as a platform for Asian countries to work together for their shared interests and explores ways to deal with differences and conflicts.


Such an identity is a constructive mindset that Asian leaders have embraced to position the continent in a more dynamic environment with more cooperation, a sharpened competitive edge and ultimately a stronger partner for other regions.


The consensus from the forum is that Asia as a continent should have its own forum to discuss Asia-wide cooperation.


The ACD, which convened its fourth ministerial meeting Wednesday in Islamabad, Pakistan, is the first caucus that brings together countries from all parts of the continent.


The rise in members from 18 in 2002 when the forum was initiated, to 26 in Islamabad, displays its magnetism and vitality.


Premier Wen Jiabao told the ACD's ministerial conference that China is always ready to be a trustworthy and reliable partner for the rest of Asia.


Working on its modernization drive, China appreciates and expands its cooperation with other Asian countries, which has turned out to be a win-win deal.


Combining Asian strengths to give more impetus to Asia-wide cooperation is a wonderful idea.


The ACD concept is expected to promote interdependence among all Asian countries and increase their collective bargaining power in the world economy.


It sends out a strong message that nations in one of the world's oldest continents need teamwork.


It will be a long, long journey to try to forge substantive cooperation among all Asian countries given the diversity of the region, and historical and current conflicts between certain nations.


Still, the ACD is a move in the right direction.


Our continent deserves a common strategy for our future. We need a strategy that will give all of us the common sense and build understanding to deal with the challenges ahead.


Asia is the world's largest and most diverse continent. It is also home to over half of the world's population.


Our continent outshines the other six with the fast economic growth. It is a continent with a long history, but bursting with vigor.


This caucus is one more parallel forum adding to the already existing plethora of regional and sub-regional groupings, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.


The ACD initiative can serve as a "missing link" to bring all existing groupings in the continent together.


A regular exchange of views at a high level like the ministerial one on issues of mutual interests can promote independence among Asian countries in all areas of cooperation.


Also, the forum offers chances for countries to open bilateral and multilateral talks.


We pulled together when our continent was at a low, such as during the 1997 financial crisis, and later, SARS, bird flu and tsunami.


No country can exempt itself from problems because we share a common lot.


We need to combine our strength with our common heritage. Our physical, geographical and intellectual endowments will make these building blocks even stronger.


We realize that it is a path overgrown with brambles. But as a proverb says, "Where there's a will there's a way."


Harder work is needed to make our continent a peaceful and prosperous place for every Asian, and partner for the rest of the world.


(China Daily April 7, 2005)

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