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Enhance Mutually Beneficial Cooperation and Promote Common Development
by H.E. Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China at ASEM II (3 April 1998)

Mr. Chairman,

Today, leaders of 25 countries in Asia and Europe meet here in London for ASEM II. I would like to offer warm congratulations on this, and heartfelt thanks to our host, the British Government, for the thoughtful arrangements it has made for the smooth convocation of the meeting. This meeting is of major importance to summing up the successful experience gained in Asia-Europe cooperation over the past two years, building up a new type of Asia-Europe cooperation over the past two years, building up a new type of Asia-Europe partnership ad envisaging the prospects of Asia-Europe cooperation in the 21st century. It is my hope and belief that with the concerted efforts of all participants, the meeting will produce positive results.

Since ASEM I, members of ASEM have done a great deal of useful work to materialized the consensus reached at ASEM I in Bangkok. Positive changes of strategic significance have take place in the mutually beneficial cooperation and mutual relations between the two continents of Asia and Europe. Multi-level political consultations and dialogues have increased steadily. Such dialogues are conducted on an equal footing in a spirit of mutual respect and to the benefit of all. The economic, trade, scientific and technological cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and reciprocity, which has taken flexible and diversified forms and has increasingly broadened its areas and scope, has expanded rapidly. Personnel exchanges through various channels, particularly exchanges of visits and direct contacts between top leaders of Asian and European countries, have increased and mutual understanding and friendship have steadily deepened. The cultural exchanges have become more frequent so that the two great civilizations of Asia and Europe can better learn from and draw upon each other's experience. The two sides have enhanced coordination and cooperation in international affairs in a joint effort to safeguard world peace and promote economic development. Practice has proved that ASEM has already played and will continue to play a positive role in promoting the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between Asia and Europe.

We are now at an important cross-century historical juncture. The development trend towards multipolarity has become increasingly manifest, science and technology are advancing by leaps and bounds and the momentum for economic globalization is constantly building up. People all over the world want peace and work for stability, cooperation and development -- this has become the main theme of the times. In conformity with such a historical trend, the friendly cooperation and development of Asia and Europe have already made a sound start. This, however, is not enough and much remains for us to jointly work on.

The financial crisis which broke out in some Asian countries last summer and autumn has not only inflicted losses on Asian countries, but has also affected global economy. However, as long as Asian countries draw lessons from it, they can turn a bad thing into a good one, and it won't take them long to achieve economic revitalization. China has done all it can to make due contribution to and sacrifice for overcoming the crisis by providing assistance, undertaking not to devalue the RMB and working to ensure an eight percent economic growth rate this year through increasing domestic demand. We hope that European countries will actively provide various forms of assistance to Asian countries. China supports British Prime Minister Tony Blair's proposal for the establishment of an ASEM trust fund and is ready to participate in it.

In order to further strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation between Asia and Europe and promote common development, we believe in the need to do the following:

-- To constantly expand exchanges and cooperation in the economic and trade field. Our two sides should persist in giving top priority to our economic cooperation and trade, give play to our respective advantages and open up various cooperation channel. We should not only enhance cooperation among large enterprises but also increase exchanges among medium-sized and small enterprises. We should increase mutual investment and reduce trade barriers so as to bring the bilateral economic cooperation and trade to a new high.

-- To further enhance cooperation in the scientific and technological field. Developed countries should relax their restrictions on technical transfer and provide developing countries with advanced technologies. That would not only help developing countries raise their scientific and technological level but also serve the interests of developed countries themselves. I would like to suggest that and "Asia-Europe Science and Technology Minister's Meeting" be held at an appropriate time for ASEM members to exchange views on issues of mutual interest and work out specific measures for the development of such cooperation China stands ready to host the proposed meeting.

-- To work for closer international cooperation in the financial sector. The financial crisis that has taken place in some Asian countries shows that to take precautions against financial risks is no longer a matter of any one country alone, but rather it is our shared responsibility and in our common interests. Countries in Asia and Europe should, in the interest of long-term development, strengthen mutual coordination and support, conduct closer cooperation between their financial supervisory and regulatory departments and actively participate in financial support programs sponsored by international financial institutions in a joint effort to guard against and resist financial risks.

-- To step up political dialogue and consultation. Differences should be handled properly in a spirit of respecting each other, seeking common ground while putting aside differences and making steady progress. We should cherish and develop the existing sound atmosphere for and momentum of dialogue, replace confrontation with dialogue and conflict with cooperation, and strive to seek and expand the converging points of common interests.

In short, setting our eyes on the future, we must establish and develop a new type of cross-century partnership so as to contribute to peace and development in Asia and Europe and in that world at large.

Over the past tow decades, China's reform, opening up and modernization drive initiated by Deng Xiaoping have scored tremendous success. Thanks to the deepened reform and strengthened macro-control in the past few years in particular, our economy has exhibited a good posture of "high growth and low inflation". The just concluded first session of the 9th National people's congress has produced a new state leadership and a new government. Under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party with Jiang Zemin at the core, we will continue to unswervingly press ahead with the reform and opening up and bring the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century in all aspects. This year, China will ensure a continued rapid economic growth and stable prices and exchange rate of RMB. We will moderately expand domestic demand and tap to the full the potential of the domestic market. We will vigorously expand import and export trade and improve the level of foreign capital utilization. We will introduce more drastic reform measures, accelerate the pace of establishing a socialist market economic structure and promote a healthy development of national economy. The reform and development in China will offer new opportunities for China to develop its friendly relations and cooperation with other Asian and European countries.

Let us work together to open up a new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation and common development between Asia and Europe.