First of all, I wish to extend my appreciation to Spain, our host country, for the thoughtful arrangements and kind hospitality. I believe that, under your outstanding leadership and through cooperation among all our colleagues, this meeting will surely achieve its expected goal.
The September 11th incident had a considerable impact on the development of the international situation, but peace and development remain the theme of the present times. The world continues to move towards multi-polarization and economic globalization. Seeking peace and cooperation and promoting development are still the shared aspiration of all peoples and the policy orientation of most countries. In Asia, the situation on the whole remains stable. The Korean Peninsula situation has recently undergone some positive changes, which point to the direction of relaxation; East Timor has realized its full independence; Afghanistan is facing important historical opportunities for peace. Regional dialogue and cooperation in Asia are developing into depth. Economies in Asia are recovering. In Europe, in recent years, the European integration has made significant headway, and the European Union has taken faster and bolder steps in promoting a common foreign and security policy. The Euro banknotes and coins have been formally put into circulation, indicating that the European Economic and Monetary Union has begun its functions in a full sense. The European Union has resumed its stable pace for economic growth.
However, the cause of peace and development of mankind is still facing quite a few challenges. The old, unjust and inequitable international political and economic order has not been fundamentally altered. The world is still not tranquil. Local wars, tension and turbulence keep cropping up. The Middle East situation has aroused common concern of the international community. The September 11th incident underscores the ever-acute contradictions in international relations. The world is under increasing threat of terrorism, trans-national crimes, drug trafficking, environmental degradation and other non-traditional security problems. The tendency of a certain country ignoring international cooperation is once again on the rise. The aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks is still felt in Asian and European economy, and the negative effect of economic globalization on political, economic and social development in Asia and Europe has been growingly highlighted.
Positive developments in the political and economic situation in the world, and especially in Asia and Europe provide solid guarantee and rare opportunities for the furtherance of Asia-Europe cooperation; common threats and challenges faced by Asia and Europe underline the necessity and urgency of enhancing cooperation between Asia and Europe. It is therefore of profound realistic and long-term strategic significance to further intensifying Asia-Europe cooperation. When our two continents strengthen communication and cooperation, make full use of opportunities and jointly face up to challenges, we will, as major forces in international affairs, contribute to the settlement of regional and global issues, to the sound and balanced development of globalization and narrowing of the North-South gap, as well as to the promotion of the development of the world multi-polarization and democratization of international relations.
Over the past six years and more since the establishment of ASEM, extensive cooperation has been carried out in the political, economic, financial, scientific and technological, cultural, educational, environmental, social and other areas. The dialogue between Asia and Europe in the political field has been deepened, economic relations and trade have become closer, and cooperation in the social field has been rapidly expanded. The fruitful results achieved in the ASEM process have laid a solid foundation for the further strengthening of Asia-Europe cooperation. We should continue our efforts to boost the ASEM process and make greater contributions to regional and world peace and development. It is in this connection that I would like to make the following proposals:
1. Make combined efforts in preparation for the 4th ASEM Summit, which is to be held in Denmark this September. It will be the first gathering of Asian and European leaders since the September 11th incident, which will bear great significance as our leaders will be discussing measures to be taken to enhance Asia-Europe cooperation under the new international and Asian-European situation. We should pull our efforts together to make all necessary preparations and lay a sound basis to ensure the success of the Summit. The Chinese side has noticed that in the non-paper by European ASEM partners on the possible main contents of ASEM 4, a number of suggestions and views initiated by China and other Asian countries have been included. I appreciate that. I hope that the upcoming Summit will continue to give priority to cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, science and technology, adhere to relevant principles adopted by the previous Summits, further strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and other fields, and make ASEM a role model for inter-continental cooperation based on equality, a major channel for exchanges between Eastern and Western civilizations, and an important force for promoting the establishment of a new international political and economic order. The Chinese side is ready to continue its efforts in making positive and constructive contributions to this goal.
2. Continue to abide by the principles set by previous ASEM meetings. At the very beginning of the establishment of ASEM, ASEM partners set forth such principles as mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, seeking common ground while shelving differences, adopting a step-by-step approach, seeking consensus through consultations and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, which have been confirmed and reiterated at all the previous ASEM Summits. China and many other countries also maintain that areas of Asia-Europe cooperation should be balanced with highlighted priorities, efforts should be made to enhance Asia-Europe cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and other fields, and in the meantime, economic cooperation should serve as the basis of the new Asia-Europe partnership. Experience over the past six years since the launch of ASEM have established the fact that all these principles are a firm guarantee for the advancement of ASEM, and therefore should be observed and carried forward. On this basis, China understands the concern of the European Union, and support proper improvement of the modalities of ASEM dialogue, with a view of further enhancing mutual understanding and expanding consensus and cooperation between Asia and Europe.
3. Encourage ASEM to assume a bigger role in international affairs. The cooperative relations between Asia and Europe in international affairs have a solid foundation, and the areas of consensus have been expanded. Both Asia and Europe stand for the establishment of a multi-polar world, advocate greater international cooperation, and hold similar or same positions on anti-terrorism, conflicts in the Middle East and other regions, maintenance of global strategic balance and other issues. In order to cope with the current threat posed by both the traditional and non-traditional security issues, to safeguard our common interests, and to bring the influence of ASEM into play, all ASEM partners should further strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs. Asia and Europe can make concerted efforts to promote the formation of a new security concept with mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation at its core, help enhance the leading role of the United Nations in international affairs, build a mechanism for consultations among ASEM partners on the UN affairs, expand understanding and cooperation on the issue of anti-terrorism, and form common positions on the current major international and regional hot-spot issues. In view of the current developments of the situation, the Chinese side proposes that an ASEM Seminar on Anti-Terrorism be held after the 4th ASEM Summit and that a political declaration on the Middle East situation be issued by the current Foreign Ministers' Meeting.
4. Further enhance trade and economic cooperation in response to the challenge of globalization. The September 11th incident has highlighted our awareness of the negative impact of economic globalization. In this respect, ASEM partners should work together for the establishment of a new, just and equitable international economic order, minimizing the adverse impact of economic globalization. Active efforts should be made to expand market, promote export market diversification, bring our respective advantages into full play, vigorously engage in mutually beneficial cooperation in economic field and trade, and continue to act on the Trade Facilitation Action Plan and the Investment Promotion Action Plan. The developed partners of ASEM should continue to take concrete measures to increase aid, reduce or remit debts and open their markets wider. Closer cooperation between Asian and European countries in economy and trade will not only facilitate the resurgence and development of Asian and European economy as well as the world economy as a whole and, tide over the impacts of unevenness and unfairness in economic globalization, but will also accelerate the advancement of ASEM.
5. Join efforts to seek solutions to trans-national issues. The past one or two years have seen deepened Asia-Europe cooperation in the field of trans-national issues. Last year, at the ASEM ministerial meetings and symposiums on such issues as environmental protection, combating trans-national crimes, child welfare and migration, extensive consensus were reached on the cooperation among ASEM partners in the above-mentioned fields. It is required that follow-ups be taken to materialise their commitments. In the meantime, it is necessary to seek both a temporary solution and a permanent cure to trans-national issues, making greater endeavours in promoting common development to eliminate the root cause of these problems. Environmental problem is currently becoming more prominent. It is the hope of the Chinese side that the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in South Africa this August will adhere to the series of basic principles determined by the UN Conference on Environment and Development and work out effective action plans to take up the challenge of a sustainable development in the 21st century. Having common interests and shared views on many issues of environmental protection, we ASEM partners should enhance exchanges and cooperation, and promote an early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.
China has, as always, attached importance to and supported the ASEM process, actively participated in the various follow-ups, and played a positive and constructive role in promoting Asia-Europe cooperation. In May 2001 and January 2002, China successfully hosted the 3rd ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting and the ASEM Environment Ministers' Meeting. In addition, the ASEM Symposium on Science and Technology Cooperation in Forestry Conservation and Sustainable Development, the Symposium on Law Enforcement Organs In Asia and Europe Combating Trans-national Crimes and the Meeting on Law Enforcement Agencies in Asia and Europe on Child Welfare have been successfully held in China. To further strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation and exchange process, I now have the pleasure to announce that the Chinese Government will contribute one million US dollars to the 2nd Phase of Asia-Europe Foundation. China shall, as always, continue to make positive and constructive contribution to the promotion of Asia-Europe cooperation.
Since its reform and opening up over 20 years ago, China has enjoyed political stability, social tranquillity, rapid economic development and substantial improvement of people's living standards. While the global economy was noticeably slowing down, China maintained a rate of 7.3% in its economic growth last year. Since the beginning of this year, China's economy has kept growing at a relatively high speed, with an increase of 7.6% in the first quarter. The Chinese Government is now taking measures to further boost domestic demands, speed up economic restructuring, and actively develop foreign trade, so as to ensure the steady development of the economy. China is now in a crucial period of development. China will continue to carry out reform and opening up, and implement the Strategy of Developing China's West. With its accession to the WTO, China will participate in a broader range of areas and at a higher level in the development of world economy and expand its cooperation with all countries in the world. This will not only provide numerous business opportunities to ASEM partners, but also further improve the investment and trade environment in China for foreign countries, and promote China's investment in developing countries. All this is bound to contribute to the achievement of world prosperity and development.
To conclude, I wish the meeting a complete success!