Address by H.E. Wen Jiabao Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at the Seventh Asia-Europe Meeting
Together, We Will Overcome Challenges
Address by H.E. Wen Jiabao
24 - 25 October 2008
Today, leaders of ASEM partners have gathered in Beijing to explore ways for win-win progress through dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, warm welcome and sincere greetings to you all.
The spread of worsening international financial crisis has seriously affected world economic growth and stability. Global issues such as energy, food, the environment, natural disasters and poverty have become more pronounced and intertwined. Mankind is facing severe challenges in the pursuit of development. The theme of the meeting - Vision and Action: Towards a Win-Win Solution is highly relevant, as it shows the strong political commitment of ASEM partners to closer cooperation and common development. We will focus our discussions on how to address the international financial crisis and exchange views on international and regional developments, food security, cooperation on disaster relief, sustainable development and dialogue among civilizations in a candid, pragmatic and in-depth manner. We will build consensus, work in a pioneering spirit, and make contribution to ASEM cooperation, world harmony and sustainable development.
The ongoing financial crisis is rarely seen in history. Countries and organizations concerned have taken measures in response, and we hope these measures will produce the desired results soon. To comprehensively resolve and overcome the crisis calls for concerted efforts and global action. Countries in Asia and Europe are an important force for international financial stability and world economic growth. We must work together and show confidence, solidarity and cooperation to the world. I suggest that we make greater efforts in the following aspects:
First, countries should, first and foremost, run their own affairs well. In the face of the crisis, it is important for leaders to act in the fundamental and long-term interests of the people, make decisions in a firm, resolute, responsible and timely manner and use necessary fiscal, monetary and regulatory tools to restore market confidence as soon as possible and maintain economic growth. It is also important to offer proper guidance to public opinion and maintain social stability.
Second, step up coordination and collaboration among governments. The financial departments, central banks and financial regulators around the world should closely follow the development of the crisis and study its trend and impact, enhance information sharing, take effective measures on macroeconomic policy coordination and international financial regulation and increase capacity for jointly fending off financial risks.
Third, intensify regional financial dialogue and cooperation. Members of the Eurozone have reached agreement on the basic principles to tackle the financial crisis. We in Asia are also exploring the possibility of expanding the size of bilateral currency swap arrangements under the 10+3 framework and working to put in place a regional foreign exchange reserves pool at an earlier date. Building on this, Asia and Europe should bring into play their respective advantages and make full use of the existing mechanisms to advance inter-regional financial cooperation on a broader scale.
Fourth, push forward the reform of the international monetary and financial systems. The present crisis has laid bare the weaknesses in the existing international financial system and governance structure. The international community is calling for accelerated reform and the establishment of a fair, just and effective international financial system. I deem it important to do three things in this regard: first, increase the say and representation of developing countries in international financial organizations; second, expand the scope of the regulation of the international financial system, with particular emphasis on strengthening the supervision of the major reserve currency countries; and third, establish a reasonable global financial rescue mechanism.
We should draw serious lessons from the financial crisis and properly handle three relationships. First, the relationship between financial innovation and regulation. We should advance financial innovation in a steady manner according to needs and possibilities and at the same time strengthen financial regulation. Second, the relationship between virtual and real economy. We should always place importance on the development of real economy and put the economy on a solid and reliable basis. In addition, we should coordinate virtual economy with real economy and enable the former to better serve the latter. Third, the relationship between savings and consumption. We should see to it that consumption and savings are well-coordinated.
At present, the fundamentals of the Chinese economy are sound. China has maintained a GDP growth rate of 9.9% in the first three quarters of the year. The international financial crisis has some impact on China’s financial sector and the Chinese economy, but the impact is limited and can be managed. The Chinese Government will follow a flexible and prudent macroeconomic policy to resolutely maintain economic and financial stability and the stability of the capital market and ensure steady and relatively fast economic growth. I am confident that we will achieve our goals. This will be China’s most significant and effective response to the crisis and also our biggest contribution to the world.
In the era of growing globalization, countries are becoming more and more interdependent. This is especially true with Asian and European countries, which share one continent. We should stick to the right approach of dialogue and cooperation for win-win progress and make ASEM more effective, pragmatic and open so as to bring benefits to the people and lift Asia-Europe cooperation to a new height.
— Strengthen political dialogue and maintain peace and stability in Asia and Europe. There can be no durable development and prosperity without peace. We should keep to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, resolve differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation, advance multilateralism, promote democracy, harmony, coordination and win-win progress and work for the building of a harmonious world.
— Deepen business cooperation and promote economic growth. Economic development constitutes an important basis for the resolution of global issues. Given the current financial crisis, it is of particular importance to prevent trade and investment protectionism. We should strengthen trade and investment cooperation between countries in Asia and Europe, implement the ASEM Trade Facilitation Action Plan and Investment Promotion Action Plan, intensify consultation and coordination and work for early progress in the Doha Round negotiations. To further promote trade between Asia and Europe, China proposes that we explore the possibility of establishing a multilateral cooperation mechanism for ASEM trade security and facilitation to create enabling conditions for trade growth between the two regions.
— Put people first and pursue sustainable development. We should actively promote international development cooperation, redouble efforts in poverty reduction, provide more assistance to developing countries within our regions and strive for the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals on schedule. We should adhere to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, carry out international cooperation on climate change in keeping with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, and implement the “Bali Roadmap”. We should strengthen technological cooperation to improve energy efficiency and conserve energy. We should promote social harmony by upholding justice and equity and ensure that the benefits of development are shared by all the people. In order to achieve sustainable development of Asian and European cities, China proposes the establishment of an ASEM Eco-City Network to facilitate exchange of experience and promote the concept of conservation culture.
— Maintain food security and promote cooperation on disaster relief. We should place high importance on agriculture, accord food security greater priority in our development policies and adopt integrated mid-to-long-term measures to raise agricultural productivity. We should intensify international coordination to curb excessive speculation, improve the food trading system and establish a fair and equitable international trading order for agricultural products. We should step up cooperation in disaster reduction and relief to minimize the risk of disasters and their damages. To this end, we wish to put forward an initiative on ASEM Cooperation on Disaster Relief Capacity Building to strengthen cooperation on disaster reduction and management among Asian and European countries.
— Promote dialogue among civilizations and build open and inclusive societies. Only by being open and inclusive can a country prosper and can our continent prosper. We should build on the tradition of cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe, take advantage of modern transport and information technologies to enrich the contents and diversify the forms of exchanges and increase the participation of the young people and the media. With this in mind, China proposes that countries in Asia and Europe take turns to host the ASEM Culture and Arts Festival.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up program. In the past 30 years, China has engaged in dialogue and cooperation and achieved win-win progress with the rest of the world. Reform and opening-up have transformed China’s political, economic and social outlook, significantly enhanced its overall national strength, and integrated the Chinese economy more closely with that of the region and the world. China has been playing a more active and extensive role in the settlement of international hotspot issues, UN peacekeeping operations, cooperation on poverty alleviation and disaster reduction and international social and cultural exchanges. Reform and opening-up have not only brought enormous benefits to the Chinese people but also offered tremendous opportunities for and instilled vitality in global development. We will remain committed to the path of peaceful development, unswervingly pursue reform and opening-up, adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace, and work tirelessly for the noble cause of peace, cooperation and development of mankind.
In our efforts to fight against the earthquake disaster and host the Beijing Olympic Games, we were committed to opening-up and international cooperation, and received broad understanding, support and assistance. On behalf of the Chinese Government and people, I wish to take this opportunity to express sincere gratitude to our ASEM partners and the entire international community.
ASEM’s development in the past twelve years shows that exchanges lead to progress, mutual benefit sustains cooperation and win-win progress ensures a bright future. Reviewing the past, we feel encouraged by our achievements. Looking forward, we are fully aware of our heavy responsibilities and the challenges ahead. Let us strengthen our conviction that with dialogue and cooperation, we can achieve mutual benefit and win-win progress. Let us work together to overcome challenges and write an even more splendid chapter in the annals of Asia-Europe cooperation.