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Youth conference stresses brighter future
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-30 02:14

Youth leaders and young entrepreneurs from China and the 10 ASEAN countries have vowed to strengthen understanding and expand exchange and collaboration with the hope of creating a better and more prosperous future.

They made the pledge in a Beijing Declaration on ASEAN-China Co-operation on Youth passed Wednesday at the first ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting on Youth.

More than 70 ministers and officials in charge of youth affairs as well as young entrepreneurs discussed the challenges and issues concerning youth with their Chinese counterparts at the meeting.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who proposed the gathering, received the delegates on Tuesday.

The attendees passed a joint work plan to address the strategies outlined in the Beijing Declaration and set priorities to be implemented in the immediate term, such as ASEAN-China Young Leaders Forum and ASEAN-China Exchange Programme for Young Managers and Entrepreneurs.

An Industrial Park has been set up in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region as a programme of China-ASEAN Youth Co-operation.

Paolo Benigno Aguirre Aquino IV, chairman of the Philippines' National Youth Commission, said the Beijing Declaration is not an end but a start of co-operation and friendship between China and ASEAN's youth.

"Young people of China and ASEAN countries should be more unified in the future," he said.

Zhou Qiang, first secretary of the Communist Youth League of China, who presided over the event, said co-operation between youth is an important part of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.

"The meeting will bring a profound impact on the communication between the youth of China and ASEAN countries and we will expand concrete co-operation in many fields including economics, education, culture and so on," Zhou said.

Last year, Premier Wen signed in Indonesia the Joint Declaration of the Heads of State/Government of the People's Republic of China and the member states of ASEAN On Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, a milestone in the history of China-ASEAN Relationship.

As part of the partnership mechanism set by the Joint Declaration, the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting of Youth will be held every two years. The next gathering is set for Singapore in 2006.

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