Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun Attends the 7th Asia Cooperation Dialogue Foreign Ministers’Meeting in Kazakhstan
Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun headed the Chinese delegation to the 7th Asia Cooperation Dialogue Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which was scheduled from October 15 to 16, 2008 in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan. The meeting was attended by foreign ministers, vice foreign ministers or representatives of the 30 member countries of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).
During the discussions, the participants mainly exchanged views on the current financial crisis and food security, reviewed the past and looked into the future of cooperation among ACD member countries in various fields, and reached consensus on identifying ACD’s visions and long-term goals, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation and strengthening institutional building. The meeting adopted the Declaration of the 7th Asia Cooperation Dialogue Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The meeting also decided to include Kyrgyzstan as a new member of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue and Morocco as a development partner and agreed to add cultural cooperation as the 20th areas of cooperation in ACD.
During his address at the meeting, Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun explained China's views and propositions on current financial situation, stressing that in the context of growing instability and uncertainties, Asian countries should not only take positive responding measures, but also strengthen co-operation to deal with the challenges. China has the confidence and ability to contribute to world economy by maintaining steady and relatively fast economic growth. Zhai also spoke positively of ACD’s role in enhancing the awareness of Asia as a whole and promoting mutually beneficial cooperation among the Asian countries. He also introduced the work of the Chinese side in the agriculture field, and raised suggestions on the future development of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue.
During the meeting, Zhai Jun participated in the collective meeting with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev and had a brief talk with Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nurlan B. Yermekebayev. President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed Zhai to attend the meeting and expressed his gratitude for China’s support to Kazakhstan.
ACD was established in 2002 at the initiative of Thailand. It is an official pan-Asian dialogue and cooperation mechanism. It aims at promoting cooperation among ACD countries in agriculture, energy, poverty alleviation, tourism, transportation and other areas with countries leading cooperation in different areas. China is always an active participant and supporter of the ACD process and is a leading country for agricultural and energy cooperation.
Attachment: The Full Text of Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun’s Speech
Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun’s Speech at the 7th Asia Cooperation Dialogue Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
(Astana, October 16, 2008)
I’m most pleased to attend the ACD meeting on behalf of our Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and have discussions with our colleagues here on the situation in Asia and the issues related to the Asia Cooperation Dialogue.
First of all, I’d like to thank our host, Kazakhstan for their hospitality and considerate arrangements for the meeting. I’m convinced that under the able leadership of Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin, the chair of the meeting, and with the joint efforts of all delegations, the meeting will be a great success and will reach our expected goal of promoting cooperation among ACD countries.
I wish to express my agreement with the report on the progress of ACD made by the Republic of Korea, the presidency of last meeting and Thailand, the coordinator of last meeting and extend my appreciation for their efforts. In the interest of time, I wish brief you on China’s views on the situation in Asia and the future path of ACD.
I. On the Situation in Asia
So far this year, the overall situation in Asia is stable, but unstable and uncertain factors increased significantly. Affected by the volatile global economic and financial situation, economic growth of Asian countries, especially some developing countries, is slowing down and people’s livelihood is aggravated. Asia is facing the most difficult situation since the Asian financial crisis.
In view of the current crisis, the Chinese side has three suggestions. First, countries should strengthen cooperation. Countries concerned should take active responding measures. Only by acting together can we effectively deal with the crisis. Second, countries should maintain confidence in Asia's economic development and prosperity. In the face of financial and economic difficulties, confidence is more important than currency and gold. It should be noted that the overall economy in Asia still maintains relatively fast growth and there is no material change to Asia's economic fundamentals. Third, China has the confidence and ability to maintain stable and rapid economic growth. There will no big ups and downs in China’s economy. This itself is the greatest contribution to the world economy.
As a member of the big Asian family, China has always been committed to the development and prosperity in Asia. The Chinese side is willing to work closely with all ACD member countries. China will continue to adhere to the path of peaceful development, follow the policy of reform and opening up, and adhere to the independent foreign policy of peace. China and other Asian countries should help each other, learn from each other, and turn challenges into opportunities so as to build Asia into a harmonious continent based upon peace, stability, equality, mutual trust, and win-win cooperation.
II. On the Future Path of ACD
Since its establishment seven years ago, ACD, in view of the diversity of Asia, has put the concept of pan-Asian cooperation into practice and achieved positive progress. China spoke positively of the important role of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue in enhancing the awareness of Asia as a whole and promoting mutual understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation between the sub-regions of Asia.
In the context that Asia is facing diverse challenges and against the backdrop that regional and sub-regional cooperation in Asia is deepening, ACD is at a crucial stage of development.
To consolidate the foundation and increase the vitality for ACD cooperation, the Chinese side believes that efforts should be made in the following aspects:
First, to keep the pan-Asian identity of ACD cooperation and adhere to the core concepts of tolerance, progressiveness, informality, and taking into account the comfortableness of each party. To this end, China supports Kyrgyzstan to join the big family of ACD and Morocco to become a development partner of ACD.
Second, to deepen cooperation in key areas. In order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation, the Chinese side suggests that countries leading cooperation in specific areas should expand communications and contacts, strengthen coordination and synergy, and jointly promote pragmatic cooperation for constant results.
As a leading country for the cooperation in agriculture, China has held a series of seminars, forums, training courses and other projects. Last month, the Chinese side held a forum on the wholesale market of ACD’s agricultural products in Beijing. The representatives from 17 member countries exchanged views on the experiences in managing the wholesale market of agricultural products and achieved good results.
The Chinese side agrees to add culture as the 20th areas of cooperation in ACD. We believe that Iran and India, as the leading nations, will play a significant role in promoting intercultural dialogue on an equal footing and enhancing mutual understanding, respect and trust between Asian countries.
Third, to strengthen institutional building. In the past year, the high-level study group held three meetings, discussing the objectives of ACD and some institutional issues. A consensus was reached. We propose that the high-level study group should be retained as a working-level consultation mechanism, which can offer the members a platform, where they can have full consultations.