Chinese President Jiang Zemin made a speech Friday at the opening ceremony of the Third ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting. The following is the full text:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the first year of the new century, it is of great significance for foreign ministers of the ASEM member states to meet in Beijing and discuss major plans for Asia-Europe cooperation. I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people and in my own name, our warm welcome to all the guests, and our heartfelt congratulations on the convocation of the Third ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting.
The pursuit for peace, stability, development and cooperation represents the trend of our times and the common aspirations of all the people in the world. This is also the goal the Asian and European people are striving to achieve. The emergence of ASEM has been a strategic choice for closer Asia-Europe exchanges and cooperation against the backdrop of the new international situation.
Asia and Europe, both with a time-honored history and splendid culture, are home to many renowned thinkers, artists and scientists. People on the two continents have made indelible contributions to the advancement of human civilization and the promotion of world peace and development.
Leaders and people of countries in Asia and Europe have made persistent efforts to explore and create new communication channels and cooperation frameworks. This not only contributes to the economic and social progress of their respective countries and helps establish a new type of Asia-Europe partnership of equality, but it is of great importance to world peace, stability and development.
Over the past five years, ASEM has initiated extensive dialogues and cooperation of various forms. Leaders in Asia and Europe have had useful discussions on some major regional and world issues. The two sides have pushed the Asia-Europe relations to a greater depth through exchanges and cooperation in such fields as economic relations and trade, finance, science and technology, culture and environment.
The present international situation is, on the whole, moving towards relaxation. Economic globalization and multi-polarization continue to develop. Science and technology are advancing by leaps and bounds, giving new impetus to world development. The cause of human progress has a bright prospect in the new century.
However, the development of the world is unbalanced or even inharmonious. It still faces many difficulties and complicated problems. The goal of realizing democracy in international relations is far from being attained. The unjust and irrational international political and economic order remains unchanged. The gap of wealth between the North and the South as well as the digital divide are widening further. Regional conflicts keep cropping up. It will be a long and uphill journey to bring about a lasting peace and common development of mankind.
In the new century, it is the responsibility of statesmen and people of all countries to find ways to seize the rare opportunities for development, appropriately tackle various contradictions in the world, jointly overcome difficulties on our way ahead and push forward the development of the human society.
Asia and Europe can not develop in isolation from the rest of the world, and Asia-Europe cooperation can bring benefit to the world. As a highly influential trans-regional cooperation mechanism, ASEM should make more contributions to peace, security, development and prosperity of Asia, Europe and the world at large. In this connection, I would like to share with you some of my views.
1. ASEM should be developed as a role model for inter-continental cooperation based on equality. Countries in Asia and Europe differ in historical progress, social system, economic development, cultural tradition and values. Such diversity may serve precisely as an important driving force for the two sides to seek common progress by learning from each other. Facts prove that as long as Asia and Europe can observe the principles of equality and democracy, the two sides will have deeper understanding, wider common grounds, better cooperation and closer relations. Mutually beneficial cooperation as such between equal partners should be advocated in developing all bilateral and multilateral relations.
2. ASEM should play a greater role in promoting all-round cooperation between the two continents. The 2.5 billion odd population of its member states, or 40 percent of the world's total, produces half of the world's GDP. With considerable economic, scientific and technological strength, rich human resources and vast market potentials, Asia and Europe have a solid foundation for closer cooperation. A long-term cooperation program should be worked out under the principles of mutual benefit, reciprocity and mutual complementarity to explore effective measures to deepen comprehensive cooperation and exchanges in economic relations and trade, finance, science and technology, education, environment and other sectors so that Asia-Europe cooperation will become more extensive and continue to attain new achievements.
3. ASEM should become a major channel for exchanges between Eastern and Western civilizations. Both Asia and Europe are cradles of human civilizations and have long been associated with each other. The ancient Silk Road, which used to be an important passage of interflow between Asian and European civilizations, has played a unique role in the exchanges between Eastern and Western civilizations. ASEM should build up a new Silk Road to actively boost exchanges between these two civilizations in the new century so that countries in Asia and Europe will build on their respective civilizations and respect, learn from, complement and benefit each other.
4. ASEM should be an important force for promoting the establishment of a new international political and economic order. The two continents have mutual interests in maintaining world peace and enhancing common development. It is imperative to abide by the UN Charter and the universally-acknowledged basic principles of international law, strengthen consultation, coordination and cooperation, properly handle major political, security and economic questions, and pay close attention to the interests and demands of the vast number of developing countries. ASEM should play a constructive role in helping build a just and rational new international political and economic order and carry forward the lofty cause of peace and development in the world.
As an ASEM member, China has consistently supported and actively participated in the Asia-Europe cooperation. We stand ready to work with other countries in Asia and Europe for sound development of ASEM, deeper understanding and cooperation between the peoples in these two continents, and a better future of prosperity and strength in Asia and Europe.
Finally, I wish the current foreign ministers' meeting a great success.