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Promoting Asian Cooperation for a Shared Bright Future

2019/08/07

Remarks by Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu
At the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM)
Of the Asian Partners of ASEM
August 6, Chengdu

Dear Colleagues,
Distinguished Guests,

It gives me great pleasure to come to Chengdu and join you in this discussion on how to promote greater Asia-Europe cooperation and Asian unity. Let me first extend, on behalf of the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, a very warm welcome to you all.

Since its inception 23 years ago, the ASEM has come a long way with a growing partnership. Committed to mutual respect, equal-footed dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation, ASEM has played an important role in enhancing mutual understanding between us, and has set a fine example for multilateralism and regional cooperation.

With a fast-changing global landscape, rising uncertainty and instability, and unilateralism and protectionism that are seriously undermining the UN-centered international system, the world has come to a crossroads. The challenges that come with globalization can only be addressed through the concerted efforts of international community. At the 12th ASEM Summit, our leaders sent a strong message of upholding multilateralism and free trade. It is important for us to build on this momentum at this year’s ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and follow through on our leaders’ consensus to create a favorable atmosphere for the Cambodia Summit next year.

Over the years, the Asian partners of ASEM have played an important role in advancing cooperation between Asia and Europe to the benefit of people on both continents. Asia is where we live and thrive. No matter how the international situation may evolve, we will stay true to our Asian identity and remain committed to building a better future for Asia. As the host of this SOM meeting, China hopes that this platform will facilitate greater communication and unity among Asian partners and better enable us to rise to challenges through close cooperation.

First, to uphold multilateralism, which is more imperative in today’s world than ever before. We must promote cultural diversity and inclusive development, and keep to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We must promote greater democracy in international relations so that the legitimate concerns, rights and interests of developing countries can be fully accommodated. We must stand together in defending multilateralism and upholding international justice.

Second, to pursue greater openness in the world economy. ASEM partners have a lot to offer each other. We commit ourselves to improving global governance and promoting an open, inclusive and balanced economic globalization. We must defend a fair, free and non-discriminatory multilateral trading regime, and oppose trade protectionism and bullying practices. We need to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and foster an Asia-Europe market to turn the Eurasian continent into a region with the economic, trade and development achievements unseen in other parts of the world.

Third, to enhance connectivity. Better connectivity would pave the way for an open economy in Asia and Europe and meet the aspiration of our people. It is important for the Asian partners of ASEM to see ourselves as a community with a shared future, promote political, economic and cultural connectivity and interaction, and deliver to the people the real benefits of it. Our pressing task is to deliver on the APGC Plan for Areas of Focus and Related Actions on Connectivity adopted at last year’s Summit. We could start with the areas most relevant to people’s livelihood and strive for early harvests. In this process, the SOM must perform its coordinating role to the fullest extent possible.

Fourth, to pursue greater unity and coordination. As the Asian partners of ASEM face the same pressing task of pursuing development and bettering the lives of our people, we have similar positions and support one another on many issues. We may use ASEM as a platform to seek common ground and put aside differences through candid communication, and to explore a way leading to more coordination, and cooperation, friendship, and mutual trust.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Coming this October, the People’s Republic of China will mark its 70th anniversary. Going forward, China will stay firmly committed to reform at home and opening up to the world. As President Xi Jinping puts it, China will keep to the path of peaceful development, pursue a global partnership, uphold multilateralism, support economic globalization and free trade, and promote the reform of the global governance.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Chengdu Plain, where this city is located, has long been known as “the land of abundance”. It was the starting point of the ancient “Southern Silk Road”. Today, Chengdu stands as an economic hub on the forefront of opening-up in western China, and plays an important role in strengthening economic and cultural ties between Asia and Europe. Hence a fitting place for our meeting.

I wish all of you a pleasant stay in Chengdu and this SOM a full success.

Thank you!

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