Present Asia starkly different from pre-World War I Europe: Chinese ambassador
                 English.news.cn | 2014-02-06 13:41:57 | Editor: Shen Qing

LONDON, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The general situation in Asia today is starkly different from the rivalry between nations in Europe before World War I, and countries inside and outside the region should make Asia a "big stage" rather than a "boxing ring", Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said here Wednesday.

"Asia enjoys a generally stable situation today. Peace, development and cooperation are still the prevailing trend," Liu said in a speech at the Chatham House, a leading British think-tank, rebuffing assumptions that Asia will end up in conflict and war just as Europe did in the late 19th century.

Scholars comparing today's Asia to pre-World War I Europe can't see the wood for the trees, the Chinese envoy said.

"If a political leader supports such arguments, then one must be suspicious of his real motive, because the facts simply do not support such a view," Liu said, alluding to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent analogy that likened current China-Japan relations to Anglo-German relations before World War I.

"On balance, peace and development remain the theme of the times. Political, economic, cultural and security cooperation among Asian countries has never been closer and more effective," Liu said, describing the current Asia as enjoying "stable" relations, "shining" economic and financial landscape, and a "solid" foundation for regional cooperation.

According to the Chinese ambassador, Asia is now the meeting place of interests of all kinds of "stakeholders" from across the world, and holds sway in the evolution of global advance.

He called on countries inside and outside the region to join hands in maintaining peace and stability of Asia, instead of "taking partial positions" and "ganging up to serve selfish interests at the cost of Asia' s stability."

"Lasting peace and stability in Asia requires China's efforts. At the same time it is essential that other countries in the region and powers outside the region work together towards the same goal," he said.

The ambassador also called for a new security concept featuring mutual trust, equality and cooperation.

"Countries inside and outside the region need to reject cold-war mentality and strengthen strategic mutual trust," the diplomat said, stressing that "outside countries should also respect Asia's diversity and its long standing traditions of cooperation."

In his speech, Liu also urged Japan to show sincerity and willingly admit the crimes it committed in World War II, and earn the trust of China, South Korea and other Asian neighbors with credible actions.

The ambassador said Abe's denial of Japan's aggressive past is the evidence of his attempt to challenge the outcome of anti-fascist war and the post-World-War-II international order.

"These actions have caused tensions between Japan and its neighbors. The result threatens to become the biggest destabilizing factor in Asia," Liu noted.

"Only when truly learning the lessons of history, can Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors have a future and Asian people feel reassured," he said.

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