Lovemore Chikova in BOAO, China
CHINA has called for countries to treat each other with respect and as equals if the world is to experience accelerated peace and development. Speaking while officially opening the 15th Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference here last week, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said there was also need for friendly policies between countries.
The conference is being held in Boao town in the tropical island of Hainan and brings together Asian countries to discuss ways of cooperation in the economic, political and social fields.
“Countries must treat each other as equals and co-exist in peace and work together to build common ground and diffuse differences,” said Premier Li.
“In doing so we can consolidate the corner stone for regional peace and stability. In particular, developed countries and developing countries need to enhance communication to promote good friendly policies and to avoid spill over effect as a result of policy adjustment in some countries.”
Premier Li’s call for equal treatment of countries on the world stage resonates with what President Mugabe has been calling for in the wake of unfair treatment of Zimbabwe by some Western countries.
President Mugabe has been calling for fair treatment among countries at international forums like the United Nations and the African Union.
Western countries, led by Britain imposed debilitating illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe after being angered by the country’s land reform which ensured indigenous people also owned the important natural resource.
Generally, the Western world has not been fair to developing countries, plunging countries like Iraq and Libya into untold suffering after they forcibly removed their leaders.
Premier Li said countries should remember that peace and stability were the cornerstones for development.
“When we drink the water, we must not forget the source,” he said. “Asia owes its decades of rapid development to the overall peace and stability in the region. We must not let ourselves to be detracted by minor disputes or differences. Dialogue and cooperation is the golden key.
“We must work together to promote economic growth. Emerging economies and developing countries account for 40 percent of the world economy, at one point in the past we contributed two thirds of the total economic growth in the world.”
Premier Li said developing countries, including those in the Asian region, should not lose confidence on economic growth despite the negative environment obtaining in the world.
He said ripples of the international financial crisis were still being felt almost eight years after and the world economy was still going through profound adjustments in response.
Global trade continued to contract and decline, while commodity prices and the financial markets were still fluctuating, said Premier Li.
“Some people think that the Asian economy is at a relatively difficult and challenging time,” he said. “Well, things may not look good, but we must not lose confidence.
“Asia has emerged from two financial crisis. Asia is not what it was in the past. Most countries have accumulated experiences in strengthening the real economy and resisting financial risks.”
Premier Li said Asia was an important force for world peace and development and was also an important “engine” for world economic growth.
“We need to energise and unleash dynamism and foster new drivers not only for Asia, but also for the world economic recovery,” he said. “We can play a greater role.
“We hope that countries across the world could depend cooperation and enhance micro-policy coordination and stand together against all forms of trade protectionism.”
The Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference is being attended by leaders from several Asian countries and has a number of meetings and symposiums being held on its sidelines.