Closer Asia-Europe cooperation needed to tackle global challenges


The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, held via video link from Nov. 25 to 26, has proposed to further reinforce Asia-Europe partnership to maintain a strong multilateralism that will bring about a global growth that is not only sustainable, but can also be shared.

In the face of mounting global challenges, Asia and Europe need now more than ever to strengthen cooperation to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and promote economic recovery.

As an important multilateral platform linking Asia and Europe, ASEM is an essential and strong global force. Through development in the past quarter century, it now has 53 partners representing around 60 percent of the world’s population, 65 percent of global GDP and almost 55 percent of global trade.

Highly complementary in their industrial structures, Asia and Europe have seen their economic and trade cooperation growing closer over the years and becoming increasingly connected.

Take China-Europe freight trains for instance. In the first 10 months of the year, the number of trips made by such trains surged 26 percent year on year to 12,605, carrying over 1.21 million 20-foot equivalent unit containers of goods, a year-on-year soar of 33 percent.

These train services have performed an important role in deepening anti-pandemic cooperation. More than 13 million items of epidemic-prevention materials have been transported via China-Europe freight-train services since 2020.

Traveling along over 70 routes and reaching more than 170 cities in over 20 European countries, the train services have become a more prominent channel for international trade and a stabilizer for the global industrial and supply chains as well as brought more benefits to people along the routes.

Apart from trade, Europe and Asia could also consolidate their collaboration on various fields including environment-related ones, such as clean energy and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, putting their comparative advantages to full use by tapping Europe’s strengths in capital and technology as well as Asia’s huge market demand.

A staunch supporter of bringing benefits to the people of all countries and building a community with a shared future for humanity, China has put forward cooperation initiatives at the summit.

As Chinese Premier Li Keqiang noted on Thursday, Asian and European countries should uphold the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation for common development and prosperity, and stressed upholding multilateralism, anti-pandemic cooperation, and enhancing exchanges and mutual learning.

In the face of new situations and challenges, nothing matters more than having extended Asia-Europe cooperation, upholding openness and inclusiveness, strengthening connectivity and expanding people-to-people exchanges, to jointly open up new prospects for Asia-Europe cooperation and usher in a new future for Asian and European countries.

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In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the «Belt and Road Initiative» (BRI), aiming at building a new platform for international cooperation and creating new momentum for shared development. Since then, the BRI has opened a path for high quality development and common prosperity for countries along the route, becoming a real global platform serving more than half of the world’s population.