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Wen makes 5 proposals for Asian cooperation
Updated: 2004-06-22 14:19

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Tuesday made five proposals for promoting Asian cooperation in the new century, which he said is "both a grand cause full of hopes and anarduous task placed before us."

The five proposals, put forward at the opening ceremony of the third foreign ministers' meeting of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue, are as follows:

-- Asian countries should adhere to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and safeguard peace and stability in Asia.

Development calls for stability while cooperation cannot be achieved without peace. Asian countries should respect the reality of Asia's diversity, carry forward the tradition of Asian cooperation, treat each other candidly and as equals, settle disputes through dialogue and seek security through cooperation. For those problems left over by history or controversial issues, Asian countries should focus on the larger picture, conduct consultation on an equal footing, and handle them properly through mutual understanding and accommodation. To some of these issues, the principle of "shelving differences and going in for joint development" can be applied.

-- We should let economic cooperation and trade spearhead all-round cooperation in Asia.

Economic cooperation and trade are the core of regional cooperation, therefore it is important to further explore the establishment of regional free trade arrangement and investment protection mechanism. In the meantime, more emphasis should be laid on strengthening: agricultural cooperation to ensure food safety in Asia; energy cooperation to meet the energy needs of Asian development; fiscal and financial cooperation to safeguard financial security in Asia; cooperation in environmental protection to build a "Green Asia" together; cooperation in information industry to narrow the "digital gap"; cooperation in public health to improve disease prevention and control in Asia; and cooperation in education to improve the capacity of Asian citizens.

-- The mechanism for Asian cooperation should be improved on the basis of the existing channels of multilateral cooperation.

A full-fledged mechanism is the platform and guarantee for enhanced regional cooperation. Facts have shown that organizationslike Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Arab League, ASEAN plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea and Shanghai Cooperation Organization have played an important role in promoting regional cooperation. Asian countries should attach great importance to and vigorously support these mechanisms in playing their full role. Meanwhile, Asian countries should strengthen the interaction and coordination among various multilateral cooperation mechanisms so that they will become institutionalized and can work on a regular basis.

-- People-to-people contact should be increased among Asian nations in order to enhance mutual understanding, trust and friendship.

People-to-people contact is an important bond and basis for cooperation between states. Asian countries should vigorously expand our cooperation in tourism and conduct multi-channel and diversified cultural exchanges; initiate and promote friendly exchanges among young people; maximize the positive role of business communities, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and the media of all countries in promoting Asian cooperation.

-- Asian countries should adhere to the principle of openness,accommodation and tolerance, and take the Asian cooperation to a higher level.

Asian cooperation should not be exclusive, nor should it target against any third party. Asia cannot achieve rejuvenation in separation from the world, and it needs to learn the experience of other countries and regions in development and cooperation. Asian countries should maintain communication and coordination with countries and organizations outside the region, achieve development by opening up to the rest of the world and make progress in global cooperation.

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