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At a time when the global financial recovery is still facing many uncertainties, the need for countries to build consensus and forge cooperation has become ever stronger.
The ninth Asia-Europe Meeting, scheduled to commence Monday in Vientiane, Laos, presents an opportunity for leaders from the two continents to deepen understanding and launch more initiatives for meaningful collaboration.
As a high-level and broad-ranging platform for the governments of Asian and European countries, the ASEM can play a bigger role in facilitating better communication between countries with different economic and cultural backgrounds.
With the theme, "Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity", the leaders from 51 members are expected to focus on the problems facing the global economy.
Since the debt crisis in the eurozone shows no significant signs of abating and Asian economies are starting to slow, ASEM leaders should build on the current momentum of cooperation between the two continents and explore new ways to forge cooperation in trade and other regional and global issues, such as new energy and climate change.
Premier Wen Jiabao's attendance shows China's support of this multilateral mechanism. He is expected to elaborate China's views on the global economic and financial situation and put forward suggestions on strengthening cooperation, in a bid to boost the stability of the world economy.
Despite the economic crisis, the European Union remains the main export market for most Asian countries. In 2011, goods worth almost $1 trillion traveled from Asia to European destinations, while European goods worth more than $600 billion arrived at Asian ports.
To tap the potential of trade and economic cooperation, countries in Asia and the Europe should voice their support for free trade and oppose trade protectionism. They should not allow their differences on regional and global issues to divert their attention from focusing on far more important agendas.
Since ASEM was founded in 1996, China has committed itself to dialogue and cooperation, and its robust relationship with the EU has played an important role in Asia's interaction with Europe.
It is hoped this week's conversation in Vientiane will help build mutual trust, enhance cooperation and boost regional and global confidence in growth and development.
(China Daily 11/05/2012 page8)