By Yan Pei
China.org.cn staff reporter in Nanning
The 5th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO), scheduled from Oct. 22 to 25, will focus on further cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, and working together to combat the current global financial crisis.
The 5th China-ASEAN EXPO (CAEXPO) is held in Nanning, capital city of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on October 22, 2008. [China.org.cn]
Chen Deming, the Minister of Commerce, called for closer cooperation in the region to deal with the economic downturn in the western world.
"As the largest developing economy in the world, it is necessary for China to work closely with ASEAN member countries amid the current turmoil in the global financial market", said Chen in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 5th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO).
Surin Pitsuwan, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, also said in his address that in the face of uncertainty around the world: "It is only by enhancing regional cooperation, optimising resource allocation and furthering integration that we can effectively cope with these challenges".
Vice Premier Wang Qishan and state leaders from the 10 member countries of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) attended the opening ceremony.
The CAEXPO, held annually in Nanning, was first proposed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao five years ago in 2003 in Bali, Indonesia, during the Seventh China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit.
ASEAN was established on August 8 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries - Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. It now has ten member countries, the original group having been joined by Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. ASEAN covers a total territorial area of 4.5 million square kilometers with a population of 590 million and a combined GDP of US$1.2 trillion.