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China calls for more practical cooperation, dialogue in Eurasia

Updated: Jul 16,2016 7:17 AM     Xinhua

PremierLi Keqiang(C, front) delivers a speech during the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 15, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang on July 15 called on 53 members of the 20-year-old Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) mechanism to further advance practical cooperation and promote dialogue so as to build a more prosperous and peaceful Eurasia.

“As the ASEM begins its third decade, all members should bear in mind the mission of building a new type of comprehensive partnership” and actively seek new paths to further promote Asia-Europe cooperation, Premier Li said in a speech at the two-day ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar.

The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit opens in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia, on July 15, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

The inauguration of the ASEM in 1996 in Bangkok, Thailand, ushered in a new era of equal dialogue, all-round cooperation and joint action against challenges on the two continents, he said.

Now China and Europe are each other’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade amounting to nearly 700 billion US dollars in 2015, he added, noting that cooperation between Asia and Europe has reached an unprecedented level.

Looking into the future, the Premier said Asia and Europe, with a total population of more than 4 billion, over half of the world’s GDP and nearly 70 percent of global trade, enjoy broad prospects of development and cooperation, given their economic diversity, abundant natural resources and huge market potential.

At the same time, Eurasia is faced with a raft of enormous challenges, including an uphill economic recovery and transition as well as the fallout of Britain’s exit from the European Union, he said, adding that there are also knotty problems such as terrorism and the refugee crisis.

All sides, he suggested, should abide by the ASEM consensus on such principles as mutual respect and friendly consultation, and seek new paths to further promote Asia-Europe cooperation.

To that end, the Premier called for an innovative approach to Asia-Europe cooperation, urging all parties to share the idea of a community of common destiny and conduct dialogue and cooperation, so as to effectively cope with regional challenges, prevent new breeding grounds for turmoil, and safeguard world peace and regional stability.

Asian and European countries, he added, should jointly safeguard the post-World War II international order, abandon Cold-War and zero-sum mentality, and strive to make the international order and global governance system more and more fair and reasonable.

Premier Li said China always acts as a promoter of world peace, the international order and rule of law, and a keeper of regional peace and stability.

“We have always advocated that all countries, big or small, rich or poor, strong or weak, should conduct themselves in accordance with the laws and rules, follow established regional rules, oppose double standards and reject misinterpretations of international law,” he said.

China has insisted on resolving disputes through peaceful ways and political means, rather than inciting conflicts or confrontation, he said, adding that his country will unswervingly stick to a path of peaceful development.

The Premier also called for concerted efforts to create new cooperation impetus. Cooperation between Asia and Europe should be guided towards a more pragmatic direction, and economic and trade cooperation should particularly be enhanced, he said.

“Economic and trade cooperation is both a propeller and a ballast in developing relations between countries,” Premier Li said, adding that more economic cooperation is urgently needed as the global economic recovery remains fragile and economies on the two continents are faced with daunting tasks such as stabilizing growth, restructuring the economy and creating more jobs.

Premier Li said he looks forward to the resumption of the ASEM Economic Ministers’ Meeting next year after a 10-year hiatus. He called for joint efforts to speed up the establishment of an open and inclusive mega-market across Asia and Europe and facilitate free trade and investment.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes, has received very positive response from an increasing number of countries, he noted, proposing the establishment of a connectivity working group under the ASEM.

In addition, the Premier called for establishing a stronger foundation for people-to-people cooperation between Asia and Europe, pointing out that more dialogues are needed between different civilizations.

This year’s ASEM Summit is aimed at promoting “partnership for the future through connectivity.” It brought together leaders and delegates from 53 countries, the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.