“As long as we work together through thick and thin, more benefits can be delivered to the people of Eurasia”, China’s Premier Li Keqiang highlights from ASEM in Brussels

Li Keqiang ASEM Brussels 18-19 October 2018

From left to right: Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council; Mr Li KEQIANG, Prime Minister of China; Mr Jean-Claude JUNCKER, President of the European Commission. Copyright: European Union Event: ASEM Summit 2018

The 12th ASEM (Asia-Europe-Meeting) Summit took place in Brussels on 18-19 October 2018, the first summit after ASEM enters its third decade. Fifty-one Eurasia leaders convened under the theme “Global Partners for Global Challenges”, which is definitely a contemporary theme given the global turbulences of our time. ASEM is the platform for dialogue between Asia and Europe, representing more than half of the global trade, population and the global economy.

Countries in Asia and Europe demonstrated a strong desire to further enhance partnership, jointly address challenges and seek win-win outcomes. The participants sent out a clear signal of upholding multilateralism and free trade and opposing unilateralism and protectionism at this summit, which demonstrates their political will to strengthen solidarity and stand together to get through the tough times.

“We want to give our relationship with Asia, which is already very dynamic – as illustrated by the numerous trade and cooperation agreements we have, fresh impetus“, said President Jean-Claude Juncker at the Summit’s plenary session on Friday. “Only a multilateral approach will enable us to confront global challenges. This is why I reiterate our commitment to support multilateral organisations in all their efforts, including the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation – a World Trade Organisation that we have to reform together, so that its rules correspond better to the new realities. It is by acting together that we will be able to preserve our planet […], contribute to resolving conflicts, eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, […] and that we can better manage migration flows and develop free and fair trade.”

As an important member of ASEM, China is willing to work with all relevant parties to follow the principle of mutual respect, equal-footed dialogue and consensus through consultations to elevate ASEM partnership, promote the cooperation on connectivity in a comprehensive way, make the economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, deliver more benefits to the people in Asia and Europe and contribute to the forging of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Since day one of ASEM, China has always been an active and cooperative member committed to building consensus. In recent years, China has been a vigorous advocate for connectivity cooperation in Eurasia and has contributed ideas to this end. Through ASEM, China stands ready to join forces with other members to safeguard multilateralism, forge stronger partnerships, and strengthen the Asia-Europe cooperation in an open spirit for the benefit of all.

In the current global context, it is imperative for ASEM members to support multilateralism and preserve international rules and free trade at the ASEAN summit. The EU, as the host this year, has a crucial role to play. China will extend great support to the EU in this regard.

Particularly, Premier Li stressed that we must be steadfast in upholding multilateralism and the rules-based international trading system. We must firmly oppose unilateralism and protectionism. We must adhere to the general direction of openness and development, boost trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and promote interconnected development of Asia and Europe through enhanced connectivity.

“China surely can maintain healthy and sustainable economic growth,” Mr. Keqiang added.

Moreover, he underlined that China will deepen reform across-the-board to build a just and fair market environment in which all domestic and foreign enterprises are treated equal.

“We will further open up, strengthen intellectual property rights protection, create a world-class law-based business environment,” he continued. “I am confident that as long as we work together through thick and thin, more benefits can be delivered to the people of Eurasia.”

Further, on Thursday, Premier Li Keqiang met with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). China-France relations enjoy sound development for many years now.

During the ASEM meeting, Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that the Chinese side stands ready to work with the French side to expand two-way opening-up, promote sustained and balanced growth of trade and investment, and bring more positive expectations for businesses in our two countries. He also clearly said that the China-EU investment treaty negotiations and China-France trade and investment cooperation can be advanced in parallel. The Chinese side will firmly support the solidarity, stability and prosperity of the European Union as it always does. In face of complex international situation, China stands ready to work with France and the EU to uphold the rules-based multilateralism and free trade system.

On the other hand, President Macron said that France is willing to maintain high-level exchanges with China, map out the roadmap for future trade and investment cooperation as soon as possible, and forcefully advance the two-way trade and investment between our businesses. The French side hopes to further deepen practical cooperation in such areas as nuclear energy and agriculture for mutual benefits and win-win results. He also stressed that the French side firmly supports multilateralism and is willing to continuously maintain and strengthen communication and coordination in international affairs with China.

What is more, Prime Minister Theresa May also held a bilateral meeting with Premier Li of China at the sidelines of the ASEM summit. They discussed the UK-China relations. Mr. Li Keqiang said he looked forward to a diamond era in the relationship of the two countries. Ms. May also provided Premier Li with an update on Brexit negotiations. She said she looked forward to further strengthening economic ties with China, including trade.

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