Asian, European FMs seek “effective multilateralism” at ASEM meeting

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MADRID, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Top diplomats from dozens of Asian and European countries gathered here on Monday to exchange ideas on strengthening “effective multilateralism” amid mounting global challenges.

The 14th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), under the theme of “Asia and Europe: together for effective multilateralism,” was hosted by Spain and chaired by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

“In a world of accelerating changes, it’s clear that our cooperation matters more than ever,” Borrell said in his remarks at the opening ceremony, adding that “Asia and Europe need each other than ever.”

“When the rules-based system is being challenged, we have a massive mutual interest in sending a clear message that we always stand for rules-based multilateralism, for free and fair trade, and for the institutions that have served us so well,” he said.

“To be multilateralist, we need each other. Asians and Europeans should uphold this system and ensure it’s fit for purpose,” he said.

Spanish King Felipe VI attended the opening ceremony at El Pardo Royal Palace in Madrid.

Featured high on the agenda is the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which consists of 17 goals by 2030, such as eliminating poverty and zero hunger.

Climate change, terrorism, maritime security, and sustainable connectivity are also on the meeting agenda.

Established in 1996, ASEM is a forum for dialogue and cooperation between the two continents.

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