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UPDATED: February 3, 2009
Premier Wen Says Cooperation Top Priority to Tackle Financial Crisis

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Monday that cooperation to tide over global financial difficulties is a "top priority" and urged people to "see China in the light of development."

"To work together and tide over the difficulties has become our top priority," Wen said in his speech at the University of Cambridge, Britain, the last leg of his weeklong "trip of confidence" to Europe.

Describing the crisis as "unprecedented," Wen said the upheaval has had a severe impact on China and Britain as well as other countries in Europe.

The premier reiterated the position of the Chinese government, saying countries should first run their own affairs well and refrain from shifting troubles onto others.

They also should carry out cooperation with full sincerity and avoid pursuing their own interests at the expense of others, he said.

Moreover, countries should address both the symptoms and the root causes of the problem, Wen added.

Wen said necessary reform of the international monetary and financial systems should be carried out to establish a new international financial order that is fair, equitable, inclusive and well-managed.

"We should create an institutional environment conducive to global economic growth," he said.

In addition, Wen called for serious reflection on existing economic systems and theories in the face of the current financial crisis.

He said the international financial crisis once again shows howdangerous a market economy without regulation can be. Since the 1990s, some profit-driven financial institutions in economies lacking effective regulation have raised massive capital with a leverage of dozens of times. While they reaped huge profits, the world was exposed to enormous risks.

"This fully demonstrates that a totally unregulated market economy cannot work," Wen said. "We must strike a balance between financial innovation and regulation, between the financial sector and real economy and between savings and consumption."

The premier also reiterated the role of morality in effectively dealing with the crisis.

In his view, the loss of morality is an "underlying" cause for the current crisis.

"Some people have sacrificed principle and sought profits at the expense of public interests. They have crossed the moral baseline," he said.

Wen urged all enterprises to take up their social responsibilities, saying that "within the body of every businessman should flow the blood of morality."

On China's development, Wen said the argument that a big power is bound to seek hegemony does not apply to China.

"Seeking hegemony goes against China's cultural tradition as well as the will of the Chinese people," Wen said, adding that China's development does not harm or threaten anyone.

The premier pledged that China will be "a peace-loving country, a country that is eager to learn from and cooperate with others" and committed to building a harmonious world.

Wen cited the example of the well-known ancient Chinese navigator Zheng He, who reached more than 30 countries in the 15thcentury, describing him as a true messenger of love and friendship.

He called on the world's countries to learn from the cultures of one another and be more tolerant of those different from their own.

There are currently 300 million Chinese people learning English and more than 1 million young Chinese studying abroad, the premier said.

"Had we not learned from others' through exchanges and enriched ourselves by drawing on other's experiences, we would not have enjoyed today's prosperity and progress."

China, while trying to absorb foreign cultures and renew itself in the process, will "remain open and receptive" in pursuing a prosperous and harmonious future, Wen said.

He stressed the importance of seeing China with a view of development in the changing world, calling on more people, including students and scholars from the University of Cambridge, to turn their eyes to China and see the country in the light of its development.

On China-EU relations, Wen said that cooperation between China and the EU is now standing at a new historical starting point, saying he is "all the more confident about the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership."

Prior to the speech, Wen presented to the University of Cambridge a China Digital Library, a collection of more than 200,000 e-books published in China that cover China's political and economic life, history and culture.

(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2009)

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