Address by Assistant Minister Liu Jieyi At the Opening Ceremony of Model ASEM
Mr. Lu Yongzheng, Vice Chair of the All China Youth Federation,
Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Deputy Executive Director of the Asia
Dear young friends,
I am delighted to attend the 2008 Model ASEM at the invitation of the All China Youth Federation (ACYF) and the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF). Joining you students from Asia and Europe makes me feel much younger. Let me extend, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, a warm welcome to you who have come all the way to China.
ASEF has done an impressive job in promoting youth activities in recent years. The ACYF has long engaged in promoting the development of young people and their external exchanges. I applaud their efforts in building stronger ties between the young people of Asia and Europe.
ASEM was inaugurated in the 1990s and has since served as an important forum for dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. Over the past 12 years since its establishment, ASEM has followed the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and made good progress in its three key fields of political dialogue, economic and trade cooperation and social and cultural programs, thus contributing its share to the development of a new Asia-Europe comprehensive partnership.
In a month's time, the Seventh ASEM Summit will be held in Beijing. More than 40 heads of state, government and international organizations will gather in Beijing to hold discussions on global issues facing Asia and Europe and make plans for stronger cooperation between our two continents under the theme of "Vision and Action: Toward a Win-Win Solution". Model ASEM, co-organized by ASEF and the ACYF, provides a platform for the young to offer their views and suggestions on ASEM. It is useful and important.
I myself used to work as a teacher and sit on the ASEF board of governors. I was also awarded the title " Friend of Youth" by the Foreign Ministry. I have taken part in many youth activities and benefited a lot each time. I deeply appreciate this opportunity that ASEF gave me to join the young people again at today's event and it makes me feel so very close to you. I wish to use this occasion to share with you my suggestions on your discussions at Model ASEM.
First, have a global perspective. As a Chinese adage goes, "Sound of the wind, the rain, and of reading, I hear them all. Things concerning the family, the country and the world, I care them all". In face of common opportunities and challenges, members of international community are closely linked to each other as never before. You represent young leaders in Asia and Europe and you are the hope of the future development of our two continents and world peace. I hope that in your discussions, you will all have eyes not only on Asia and Europe but on the whole world, and participate in the discussions with a sense of mission and historical responsibility.
Second, keep in mind the well-being of the people. Agenda of the upcoming ASEM Summit covers global topics which also concern the well-being of people of all countries, such as achieving sustainable development and advancing social harmony. I hope, in your discussions, you can both approach these issues from global and national perspectives and spend time on thinking about what each of you can do in everyday life to contribute to their solution.
Third, respect each other and seek common ground while reserving differences. Coming from different countries with different cultures, you will surely come across different views and opinions in the discussions. I fully appreciate the Model ASEM practice that its participants speak on behalf of other countries rather than their own, as it enables all participants to have candid exchanges, enhance mutual understanding and learn to respect each other and listen to and accommodate different opinions. This is the very essence of Asia-Europe dialogue and exchanges.
Though you come from different countries and speak different languages, young people are close to each other at heart. The late Chairman Mao Zedong of China said to the young people that, "The world is yours as well as ours, but in the final analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigor and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you". I wish Model ASEM will serve as a bridge to connect your hearts and minds and that you will join hands in creating a better future for the world.