China to seek closer cooperation at Asia-Europe Meeting

China hopes to achieve more common understanding and closer cooperation at the ninth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said on Wednesday.

Ma made the comments at a press briefing prior to Premier Wen Jiabao’s attendance of the summit to be held in Vientiane, Laos on Nov.5-6.

Themed “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity”, the meeting will focus on the global economic and financial situation, social and cultural cooperation between Asian and European countries, and the future direction of the ASEM. It will also focus on global and regional issues, Ma said. < Bangladesh, Switzerland and Norway will join the group at the upcoming summit, bringing the total members of ASEM to 51. Meanwhile, a presidential declaration of the ninth ASEM Summit and the Vientiane declaration on strengthening peace and developing partnerships is set to be issued during the meeting, according to Ma. Serving as an important platform for countries in Asia and Europe to enhance understanding, expand consensus, and deepen cooperation, ASEM is a high-level and broad-ranging forum among governments of different Asian and European countries, Ma added. He expressed the hope that members of the ASEM will exchange views on current economic and financial situation, and discuss ways on enhancing mutual trust, strengthening cooperation and jointly coping with global challenges as well as new development opportunities for ASEM. Chinese leaders have attended all the past ASEM summits and proposed almost 50 Asia-Europe cooperation initiatives. The seventh ASEM Summit was held in Beijing in October, 2008. Ma said this year's summit will serve as a vital opportunity. "The Chinese side hope the meeting can achieve results on the following four aspects," Ma said, "That is, firstly, to consolidate the closer Asia-Europe economic partnership and promote the comprehensive, persistent and balanced development of the global economy and economy in Asian-European countries;"Secondly, to build more stable strategic mutual trust so as to lay a good foundation for Asian-European countries to deepen cooperation and tackle common challenge;"Thirdly, to deepen pragmatic cooperation in various areas in order to increase the role and influence of the ASEM;"Lastly, to focus on the future of the ASEM so as to lay the foundation for the ASEM of a higher level."During the meeting, Wen will expound on China's views on the global economic and financial situation and suggestions on strengthening Asia-Europe cooperation in a bid to boost stability of the world economy. The premier will also meet other leaders participating in the meeting and exchange ideas on bilateral relations and significant global and regional issues of common concern, Ma said. Yang Jian, deputy director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs, detailed Wen's visit to Laos at the briefing. It will be Wen's third visit to Laos during his tenure as premier. During his stay in Laos, Wen is scheduled to meet with Lao leaders, including Lao President and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Choummaly Sayasone and Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong. They will exchange views on bilateral cooperation in various areas and global and regional issues of common concerns, Yang said. Xinhua

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