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Chinese envoy to EU calls for safeguarding multilateralism, free trade in upcoming ASEM Summit

Updated: Oct 13,2018 4:02 PM     Xinhua

BRUSSELS — It is imperative for Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) members to send a clear message of supporting multilateralism and preserving international rules and free trade at the upcoming summit, ambassador to the European Union said on Oct 12.

In a written interview with EURACTIV, a media platform specializing in European matters, Zhang Ming said that thanks to the joint efforts of Asian and European countries since ASEM’s inception 22 years ago, Eurasia is now embracing broad prospects for development and great opportunities for cooperation.

The 12th ASEM Summit will be held next week in Brussels.

Zhang said that since day one of ASEM, China has always been an active and cooperative member committed to building consensus. In recent years, China has been a vigorous advocate for connectivity cooperation in Eurasia and has contributed ideas to this end.

Through the upcoming summit, China stands ready to join forces with other members to safeguard multilateralism, forge stronger partnerships, and strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation in an open spirit for the benefit of all, Zhang added.

“To stick to multilateralism, or to let unilateralism have its way” is a critical question that must be answered, and China has remained steadfast in upholding multilateralism, Zhang said. “I am glad to notice that the same commitment is shared by many European leaders as well.”

“Given the great economic closeness between China and the European Union, I would say that we are in the same boat,” he said. “We hope to make joint efforts with the EU and other parties to bolster the multilateral free trade system, tackle the impact of unilateralism and protectionism, and save global economy from a severe damage.”

At the China-EU Summit in July, leaders from both sides agreed to enhance strategic coordination, jointly safeguard multilateralism and the rules-based free trade system, promote greater openness of the global economy, he said.

China hopes to act together with the EU in such a spirit, jointly preserve the United Nations-centered international system, especially the World Trade Organization-centered multilateral trade system, with a view to bringing a greater sense of certainty to the world, Zhang said.