The 38 member countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) should make joint efforts to make the two continents more influential in addressing major global issues, Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday at the 6th ASEM Summit.
The organization, described by Wen as "a strategic platform for Asia and Europe to strengthen coordination and pursue common development," should strengthen economic partnerships, promote cultural development, further institutional building and maintain ASEM's openness.
The leaders of the Asian and European countries and representatives of the European Commission are gathered for the two-day ASEM Summit, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in Helsinki, Finland.
He asked all members to increase consultation on multilateral mechanisms and support the UN's leading role in international affairs, to strengthen coordination on international and regional issues and intensify efforts to resolve the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear standoff, the Middle East crisis and other regional issues.
Wen argued that it is necessary for all members to intensify anti-terrorism cooperation, and that combating transnational crime is essential to global peace and security.
Wen delivered a speech at the plenary meeting titled "Deepening Asia-Europe Cooperation to Jointly Meet Challenges" during which he put forward eight proposals to consolidate the partnership between the two continents:
l Enhancing political dialogue and better responding to security threats
l Deepening cultural exchanges to promote harmonious coexistence
l Intensifying financial cooperation to promote balanced economic development
l Expanding dialogue and cooperation to ensure energy security
l Supporting the multilateral trading system for common development
l Encouraging business partnerships and expanding channels of cooperation
l Addressing non-traditional security issues and effectively preventing and controlling avian influenza
l Narrowing the urban-rural gap to realize balanced economic development
Wen said that China, which will host the biennial ASEM in Beijing in 2008, is committed to rendering the international political and economic order fairer and more equitable.
"We honor in good faith our international obligations and are assuming greater responsibility in the UN, the WTO and other multilateral institutions."
At the meeting, Asian leaders invited India, Mongolia and Pakistan to join future gatherings of ASEM, the only forum dedicated to dialogue between Europe and Asia.
With more continental partners, Asian nations should grow more unified and have a better dialogue with European counterparts, said Wen.
China supports a leading role for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations in pushing cooperation, he added.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the theme of the summit "Global Challenges - Joint Responses" could not be more appropriate.
On the agenda for leaders at the two-day meeting are such topics as strengthening multilateralism, handling security threats, globalization and competitiveness, sustainable development, and intercultural and interfaith dialogue.
(China Daily September 11, 2006)