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FM urges countries in Asia, Europe to set example in defending multilateralism

Updated: Dec 17,2019 08:50 AM    Xinhua

MADRID — State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Asian and European countries to set an example in defending multilateralism. 

Addressing the 14th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Madrid on Dec 16, he described multilateralism as a "golden key" in tackling global challenges.

"Whatever the version of multilateralism, the goal is to promote world peace and development," Wang said.

The foreign minister urged countries in Asia and Europe to firmly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) as its cornerstone.

"We support the necessary reform of the WTO and the efforts to restore the functioning of the WTO Appellate Body," he said.

The Appellate Body, dubbed the "supreme court" of international trade, is supposed to have seven judges. At least three members are needed to hear an appeal. Since the terms of two of the three remaining judges ended on Dec 10 and the United States has blocked the nomination of new judges, the Appellate Body is unable to hear new disputes.

With regard to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity that China is to host in 2020, Wang said, "We look forward to an ambitious outcome and an important contribution to the world's response to climate change."

Top diplomats from dozens of Asian and European countries gathered in Madrid on Dec 16, trying to decide how to strengthen "effective multilateralism" amid mounting global challenges.

The ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting, under the theme of "Asia and Europe: together for effective multilateralism," was hosted by Spain and chaired by the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.

Established in 1996, the ASEM is a forum for dialogue and cooperation between the two continents. It brings together 53 partners - 30 European and 21 Asian countries, the EU, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat.

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