Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang
Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
At the 13th ASEM Summit
Beijing, 25 November 2021
Your Excellency Prime Minister Hun Sen,
It gives me great pleasure to meet you all on the “cloud” to attend the 13th ASEM Summit. I wish to thank Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian government for their work in putting the meeting together.
Asia and Europe are situated at the east and west of the same continent. In the long course of human history, the industrious and ingenious Asian and European people created diverse and splendid civilizations on this land and forged strong vitality, making important contributions to the development and progress of humankind. The Eastern wisdom carried by camel caravans on the Silk Road helped inspire the Enlightenment in Europe. Europe’s development powered by the Industrial Revolution pushed forward the modernization process in Asia. From past to present, Asia and Europe have enjoyed dynamic interactions; looking ahead to the future, Asia-Europe cooperation holds bright prospects and has much to be expected.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of ASEM. The past 25 years have witnessed the steady expansion in ASEM membership, continued increase in political mutual trust, and sustained deepening of exchanges and cooperation. The development of an Asia-Europe partnership has entered a new era. President Xi Jinping has proposed that countries work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind. Our world today is seeing profound changes in the international landscape, far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a tortuous recovery of the world economy, cropping up of hotspot issues and interplay of traditional and non-traditional security risks. The theme of this Summit “Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth” is thus highly relevant.
Upholding multilateralism is the right choice for maintaining world peace and stability. Promoting peace and development is our shared mission of the times. We need to safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China will work with all parties to jointly practice multilateralism with a broader global perspective, a sense of longer-term historical mission and a keener awareness of international responsibility. We need to remain committed to the equality of all countries regardless of size, strength and wealth, and respect the right of all countries in choosing their own development paths. We need to ensure that the future of the world be decided by all countries working together and international affairs handled by all countries through consultation, to jointly safeguard world peace and stability.
Protecting people’s health and security is the top priority of all governments. Life is the most valuable and people’s health must be protected with great care. As we meet, the pandemic is far from over, the virus is still wreaking havoc and challenges remain grave. Solidarity and cooperation is a right path for the international community in combating COVID-19, and vaccines and drugs the most powerful weapon to beat the virus. Countries need to uphold the spirit of science, follow its laws and step up cooperation on the research, development, production and technology transfer of vaccines and drugs. We need to work together to improve the global governance system on public health and push forward international public health cooperation.
Pursuing green development is the future direction for sustaining economic growth. In boosting a post-pandemic recovery, countries need to seek a win-win of both economic development and ecological conservation, and advance development and a green and low-carbon transition in a mutually reinforcing way. We Asian and European countries need to strengthen coordination on macroeconomic policies, improve the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, and enhance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. We need to speed up economic restructuring toward a green and low-carbon mode of growth. As the world’s largest developing country, China needs to make painstaking efforts to realize low-carbon development and a green transition in the course of modernization.
Upholding mutual benefit is an important safeguard for advancing connectivity between Asia and Europe. Connectivity has been a priority and highlight of Asia-Europe cooperation. Take the China-Europe Railway Express running across the Eurasian continent as an example. Both the number of its services and cargo traffic volume in the first ten months of this year have surpassed those of the whole year of 2020. This has contributed to the stable and smooth functioning of international industrial and supply chains, and delivered greater benefits to people along the lines. China calls on all parties to keep up this good momentum, carry on the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, pursue integrated and interconnected development in keeping with the trend of the world economy, further synergize our development initiatives, and make sure that “hardware connectivity” in infrastructure and “software connectivity” in institutions and rules shall complement and reinforce each other. With regularized pandemic control in place, we need to accelerate the building of a network of “fast tracks” for the movement of people and “green corridors” for the flow of goods, to help keep global industrial and supply chains stable and smooth, and contribute to the reopening of economies across countries.
Maintaining exchanges and mutual learning is an important way in bringing together the hearts and minds of people in Asia and Europe. Through exchanges, civilizations become more colorful; and amid mutual learning, they grow and progress. We need to increase mutual understanding and trust, seek common ground while shelving differences, draw on each other’s strengths and make progress together. We need to strengthen exchanges in education, culture, tourism, sports and between think tanks and media organizations, and develop an all-dimensional, deep-going and multi-channel cooperation framework, to enhance the affinity between our peoples. China is making all-round preparations for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and your active participation is most welcome. I wish to take this opportunity to announce that China will donate 10 million US dollars to the Asia-Europe Foundation over a 10-year period starting from 2022 to support our cooperation in various areas. China will hold an event for exchanges and cooperation on Smart Customs, Smart Borders and Smart Connectivity to promote regional trade facilitation and connectivity. In the next five years, China will host youth from Asia and Europe for the young leaders camps, and welcomes your active participation.
As the tide of history rolls on, difficulties and challenges should only propel us to enhance solidarity and forge ahead undauntedly. So long as we Asian and European countries continue to embrace the spirit of mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation, and jointly foster robust engines for shared progress and prosperity, we will be able to open up new vistas for Asia-Europe cooperation and usher in a new future for us all.
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