Interview: Asia-Europe cooperation important for collaborative responses to global challenges, says scholar

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LONDON, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Countries in Asia and Europe should work together to find ways to deal with global challenges, as many of the big problems in the world today require collaborative responses, said a leading British historian on Wednesday.

Peter Frankopan, a professor of global history at Oxford University and author of the two best-selling books 'The Silk Roads' and 'The New Silk Roads,' shared his views on the Asia-Europe relationship in an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit.

He said it is always important for collaboration and discussion about finding ways in which countries can work together, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has made things very difficult.

Therefore, the ASEM Summit, which will bring together the leaders of the European and Asian member countries to discuss global issues, is hugely important, he noted.

"All relationships, in the past, and in the present, and in the future, are built on trust. And that trust comes from spending time together. So this conference is very important," he said.

The ASEM Summit was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but had to be postponed due to COVID-19. It will take place on Thursday and Friday via video conference streamed from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the theme "Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth."

Frankopan said it is a natural need for nations in Asia and Europe to work together.

"We are also all one land mass. Europe and Asia are separate from a geographical point of view, but this is one giant continent," he added.

As a historian studying the Silk Roads, Frankopan always believes in multilateralism, because "it is correct that global communities do win-win together and lose-lose together."

Leaders of countries and regions, he said, represent their people and try to deliver outcomes, but the issues that the ASEM Summit will cover, including climate change, migration and digital connections, are all global.

"So they go beyond what happens in individual countries. Having leaders from all over the (two) continents allows us to think, to work with a better sense of shared human values," he said.

He said many of the issues require relevant parties to sit around a table, search for common ground and work out in what areas countries can trust each other.

In terms of promoting cooperation and multilateralism, the expert said China should play the leading role, especially in the green revolution to improve global climate.

"China's role in the green revolution that we are living through is extremely important," he said, adding that as China is the home of many minerals required for clean energy, there will be "no prospect of global climate improvement" without China's participation.

"China plays a very important role in climate discussions, and will play an important role in the future too. So climate is one area where there's significant space for collaboration, for discussion, for leadership."

As for Brexit and what can be expected in the future for UK-China or UK-Asia cooperation, Frankopan said: "In Britain we want to be very much part of the discussions with Europe, and not to stop being European just because we left the EU. China features very strongly in lots of the discussions about future cooperation."

What is needed, he added, is trying to work out how to have a balanced relationship that is favorable and fair to everybody. Enditem

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