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Zhu urges closer political dialogue between Asia, Europe
( 2002-09-24 09:11 ) (1 )

Premier Zhu Rongji called for leaders of Asia and Europe on Monday to strengthen political dialogue and consultations to promote peace and development in the world.

Zhu made the remarks at the Fourth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, which was attended by the heads of governments and senior officials of 25 Asian and European countries as well as the President of the European Commission.

He described the present international situation as "undergoing complex and profound changes with multipolarization and economic globalization making headway amidst twists and turns."

The September 11 attacks highlighted the intertwining of traditional and non-traditional security threats, he said.

Terrorism continues to pose threats to mankind's security and global economic development is beset with multiple uncertainties. While peace remains an unresolved issue, the question of development has stood out, Zhu said.

"Against this backdrop, strengthened Asia-Europe dialogue and co-operation will not only serve the shared interests of Asian and European countries but also contribute to world peace and common development," he added.

With terrorism a common threat to peace and development in Asia, Europe and the world at large, it is imperative for ASEM members to work in concert in close co-operation and consultation on an equal footing in the international community, Zhu said.

He emphasized that all nations should abide by the purpose and principle of the UN Charter and let the UN play a leading role in the peaceful settlement of disputes and efforts to combat terrorism.

"At the same time, ASEM members should step up consultation and co-ordination on concrete measures for counter-terrorism co-operation," he added.

Anti-terrorism, together with dialogue on cultural and economic co-operation, are all topics being discussed by leaders at the meeting.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the opening ceremony that during the summit, leaders will address, for the first time, the new common challenges Asia and Europe have faced since the beginning of the 21st century.

"In the light of the tragic events of September 11, the bridge-building role of ASEM is even more called for," he said.

Zhu disclosed at the meeting that China will host an ASEM Seminar on Anti-terrorism at an appropriate time.

"The fight against terror requires both ways to address the symptoms and the solutions to the root causes," he said, urging ASEM members to give even greater attention to co-operation in the area of development.

This is because development is key to the well-being of the world's people and provides an important condition for the complete elimination of terrorism, he explained.

The Chinese premier also proposed to prepare a more solid ground for deepening Asia-Europe economic and trade co-operation.

He suggested that all countries should open their markets, remove technical barriers, encourage business communities to play a bigger role and strengthen high-tech co-operation.

"The two sides should step up policy co-ordination on international trade to prevent trade protectionism of all kinds and should endeavour to achieve good outcomes in the new round of global multilateral trade negotiations," Zhu said.

The two sides may focus on implementing the consensus of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, including an early entry into the Kyoto Protocol, deepening current co-operation schemes and expanding technology, he added.

He also proposed promoting personnel training and exchanges and strengthening co-operation on capacity building in human resources development.

On broadening exchanges between Asia and Europe, Zhu said that "inter-cultural dialogue helps enhance mutual understanding, breaks barriers, defuse conflicts, encourages mutual learning and promotes common progress."

He said that China will host an ASEM Conference on Civilization and Culture at an appropriate time.

Zhu urged ASEM members to increase co-ordination and co-operation in international affairs. ASEM members should continue to carry out consultations on UN affairs, set up and improve consultation mechanisms at different levels, and respond to international or regional issues with common action on the basis of consensus, said Zhu.



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