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Asia, Europe join hands to face challenges
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The 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), due to open Friday in Beijing, will mark another important international event to be hosted by the Chinese capital after the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics.

The event comes at a time when the international community faces grave financial challenges.

The ASEM, founded in 1996, is a high-level and large-scale inter-governmental forum between the two continents.

Over the past 12 years, ASEM has created favorable conditions for the social and economic development of the two continents by strengthening dialogue, understanding and cooperation, helping establish a new type of all-around Asia-Europe partnership.

The forum has achieved fruitful results in the fields of political dialogue, economic cooperation, and social and cultural exchanges.

The current global financial crisis is taking an increasingly serious turn, and other world issues like energy, climate change and food safety also pose a challenge to the international community.

At this crucial time, representatives of the 45 ASEM members will gather in Beijing to exchange views and coordinate positions on major, emergent international issues, a significant move that shows the two continents' determination to join hands to cope with global challenges.

The 7th ASEM, with "Vision and Action: Towards a Win-Win Solution" as its theme and the international economic and financial situation topping its agenda, will be an important opportunity for Asia and Europe to jointly deal with the financial crisis through mutual dialogue and cooperation.

The global financial turmoil, triggered by the subprime crisis in the United States, is threatening the healthy, stable development of the world economy.

Whether Asian and European nations will make contributions to a solution to the crisis has become the focus of the international community.

Asia and Europe have had a successful experience and set good examples in dealing with financial challenges together. When the Asian financial crisis broke in 1997, participants at the 2nd ASEM in London in 1998 decided to establish the Asia-Europe trust fund, which served to help Asian countries restore financial stability and eliminate the social impact of the crisis.

Faced with the financial crisis, China has pledged not to depreciate the renminbi and made important contributions to easing the situation. At present, although the global financial crisis is intensifying, the Asian and European countries, with their stronger economic power and greater experience, have agreed to unite and ride out this difficult time together with firm conviction.

Only a joint effort from Asian and European countries and the international community as a whole can succeed in overcoming current difficulties, maintaining the stability of the international financial market and promoting sound development of the global economy.

The Beijing ASEM will also discuss global issues such as food security and disaster relief, the international and regional situation, sustainable development and deepening dialogue among civilizations.

After the Asian and European leaders complete their negotiations and coordination, the outcome of their deliberations along with their initiatives and action plans will be of significance not only for the two continents, but also play an important role for the international community in tackling global issues and profoundly influence the development of global economy and society.

In view of the complicated international situation, the mechanism of regional cooperation now plays an increasingly significant role in seeking consensus, maintaining peace and promoting common development.

The history of ASEM has shown that mutual respect, mutual benefit, harmony and tolerance are the basis of dialogue and the driving force for continuous regional cooperation.

China, the host nation of the summit, has for many years played an active and important role in promoting Asia-Europe cooperation. As a developing country it has, over the past 12 years, strengthened cooperation and communication with other Asian and European countries within the framework of ASEM.

The 7th ASEM summit presents an important opportunity for Asia and Europe to work together to meet the grave challenges at hand. It is believed that the meeting will push inter-continental cooperation to a higher level.

(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2008)

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