Premier Li's visit to Europe: The nitty-gritty of int'l cooperation

By Tim Collard
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, October 23, 2014
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The final stage of the Premier's tour was to Italy, where the focus was on multilateral relationships: he attended the Tenth ASEM Summit in Milan, and visited the headquarters of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome. ASEM has expanded hugely since its formation in 1996: it now has 53 members covering virtually the whole of the Eurasian landmass. China was committed from the start to using this multilateral forum to contribute to strategic thinking on common economic development linking the largely developed European nations to the developing countries of the Asian region, and Premier Li's address to the forum demonstrated constructive thinking. The Premier picked up the themes he had set out in Germany and Russia: trade and investment liberalization, infrastructural and communications interconnectivity and a focus on innovation, leading to a comprehensive network of small and large-scale cooperation between enterprises as well as governments.

The welcome aspect of Chinese thinking demonstrated on this tour was that China is no longer satisfied with empty diplomatic communiqués full of vague intentions unsupported by proper underpinning. Grandstanding on the world stage with sonorous speeches full of threats and promises has outlived its usefulness. A partnership involves more than two or more statesmen declaring common interests; it requires a mutually productive economic base to ensure its stability and ensure that all countries involved have a vested interest in the partnership's success and endurance. Of course geopolitical interests are a factor: but ultimately economic cooperation is of more lasting importance than the twists and turns of world politics. Premier Li's visit to the FAO further underlined this, recognising that, however little the United Nations may in practice be able to do to resolve serious disputes between nations, the organization has an irreplaceable role to play in managing issues of universal practical importance such as global food supply. China, of course, has demonstrated impressive capacity in poverty reduction and ensuring adequate food supplies for its vast population, and it can do nothing but good for that expertise to be shared with the rest of the world.

The world has stood amazed at the speed of China's development over the last 35 years: now it hopes to learn some of the secrets of that development for the general good of mankind.

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