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Premier Li to promote interconnectivity at ASEM and update Asia-Europe cooperation

Updated: Jul 12,2016 7:20 AM

Premier Li Keqiang will visit Mongolia from July 13 to 16 and attend the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, from July 15 to 16.

It will be Premier Li’s first visit to Mongolia since the new Mongolian government was formed this year, and marks the 20th anniversary of ASEM.

The Premier will raise new suggestions and measures to lay a solid foundation for an updated and pragmatic version of Asia-Europe cooperation and Sino-Mongolia cooperation.

ASEM, one of the biggest intergovernmental cooperation forums, has been providing a platform for communication between Asia and Europe and promoting political, economic and cultural cooperation for the past two decades.

And Mongolia, as this year’s host for ASEM, further emphasized the concept of interconnectivity in future Asia-Europe cooperation. Asian and European countries have also reached consensus that “interconnectivity” plays a crucial role.

“As the second largest economy, China should take more responsibility and show more wisdom in leading better interconnectivity from existing projects such as ‘Asia-Europe continental bridge’ and other new projects,” said Cui Hongjian, director of the Department for European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies.

And one of the objectives of this Asia-Europe Meeting will be rolling out a development plan for the next decade.

According to Ding Yifan, deputy director of the Institute of World Development, under the State Council’s Development Research Center, the Asia-Europe Meeting will face three major challenges in the next decade. First, mutual interests should be emphasized to strengthen common objectives among member countries. Second, Asian countries should push forward more cooperation in green energy and technology with European countries. Third, an improved system should be built to ease potential tension between country members.

Ding also said that in terms of the three challenges, Premier Li will bring up suggestions to promote a more efficient Asia-Europe Meeting and renew impetus to the development of countries in Asia and Europe.

China has attached great importance to the Sino-Mongolia relationship with high-level visits by Chinese leaders in recent years.

This upcoming visit by Premier Li will be seeking to align the development strategies of the two sides - “ the Belt and Road Initiative” and Mongolia’s “Steppe Road” - to strengthen pragmatic cooperation in production capacity, major projects and finance.

Gao Shumao, former Chinese ambassador to Mongolia, said the two strategies are similar, and the integration of the two will play an important role in Mongolia’s economic growth and in building a China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor.

He also said the success of the cooperation will release more cooperative potential in high-speed rail, highways, electric power, green energy, tourism, medicine and cultural exchanges.