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.