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China to Advance Relations with ASEAN
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Advancing the strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an important part of China's foreign policy with its neighbor countries, a senior Chinese leader said in Jakarta yesterday.


Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the remark during his speech at the welcome banquet attended by over 800 people from various sectors of Indonesia.


Noting that this year marks the "China-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation Year," Jia said relations between China and ASEAN show good momentum of development. Political trust between the two sides has been enhanced continuously, while cooperation in various fields deepened.


In his speech under the title of "Strengthening Exchanges and Cooperation, Creating a Beautiful Future Together," Jia said the establishment of China-ASEAN free trade zone is progressing smoothly as two-way trade maintained a growth rate of nearly 30 percent every year. If the growth continues, he added, China and ASEAN will definitely be able to achieve the goal of increasing trade volume to US$200 billion by 2010.


Meanwhile, Jia said Indonesia is a country of important influence in ASEAN and both China and Indonesia are members of such multilateral mechanism as 10+1 (ASEAN plus China) and 10+3 (ASEAN plus China, South Korea and Japan). The two countries share many channels and a wide spectrum of cooperation, he added.


Jia, who was invited by Chairman of Indonesia's People's Consultative Assembly Hidayat Nur Wahid for a four-day visit, noted that in order to advance China-ASEAN relations, China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Indonesia, especially in the fields of agriculture, finance, education, public health and high and new technology,


China and Indonesia should support and encourage companies from both countries to enhance economic and technological exchanges and cooperation, he said, calling for continuously optimizing cooperative mechanism and environment to promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation to make new progress.


ASEAN groups 10 countries in Southeast Asia, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


Jia arrived in Jakarta on Sunday morning after concluding visit to Bali Province of Indonesia. He is scheduled to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Yusuf Kalla in the next two days and leave the country on Tuesday.


Better future of China-Indonesia relations predicted


Jia expressed the confidence that under the joint efforts of China and Indonesia, bilateral relations will have a more beautiful future.


He said the signing of a strategic partnership declaration by President Hu Jintao and Susilo last year ushered in a new historic period of bilateral relations.


Noting that both China and Indonesia are important developing countries, Jia said the strategic partnership between the two countries is a new style of international relationship that is non-alliance, non-confrontation and not against any third parties. The aim of the strategic partnership is to maintain world peace and promote common development, he noted.


In face of the new situation and the surging trend of multipolarism and globalization, China and Indonesia share broad common interests, Jia said.


"Developing the strategic partnership between the two sides is in the basic interests of the two countries and two peoples, and also conducive to regional peace, stability and development," he said.


Jia said China and Indonesia are good neighbors that share a long-standing friendship. The deep friendship the two countries and two peoples have developed over the long historic period has become a precious wealth shared by both sides.

Indonesia is one of the first countries that established diplomatic relations with China. Over the past more than 50 years since the two countries forged official links, bilateral relations have made great progress.


"Under the joint efforts of the government and people of both countries, China-Indonesia relations have entered a new time of all-round development," Jia said.


He noted that the two sides have continuously enhanced political trust and achieved good results in trade and economic cooperation. The two countries have started a series of large-scale projects in such fields as energy, resources development and infrastructure. These projects have helped push forward the development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation and brought tangible benefits to the people of both countries.


He said the two countries have also deepened cooperation in such fields as culture, education, public health, science and technology. The two countries have maintained close coordination and cooperation on regional and international affairs.


Jia said as the Indonesian people suffered the unprecedented natural disaster of earthquake and tsunami, the Chinese government and people conducted the largest ever overseas rescue maneuver since 1949.


Noting that China and Indonesia are two important developing countries in Asia, Jia said the two countries are linked together with the same goals and require unity in face of the same challenges. He called for the two countries to join hands for maintaining peace and development of Asia and for building a harmonious world of consistent peace and common prosperity.


China pursues peaceful development


The Chinese people have made a firm and unchangeable choice to stick to the route of peaceful development, Jia said.


"The development of China will not be in the way of any others, or a threat to any others," he said.


"China's development will only be conducive to peace, stability and common development of the world," he said.


Jia said the Chinese people deeply understand that development will be sustainable and reliable only if it is gained through peaceful means, and that development gained through peaceful means will be conducive to the development of both the Chinese people and the people of other countries in the world.


He said China will always uphold the flag of peace, development and cooperation, constantly pursue the independent foreign policy of peace and firmly stick to the route of peaceful development.


"The development of China is inseparable from Asia, while the prosperity of Asia is inseparable from China," he said.


Noting that China pursues a foreign policy of treating neighbors as friends and partners, Jia said China actively seeks win-win with its neighboring countries.


According to Jia, China has already become the biggest export market in Asia, with exports from other Asian countries and regions to China reaching US$440 billion in 2005. Exports from other Asian countries made up 67 percent of China's total import in 2005.


In the next five years, other Asian countries and regions are expected to export more than US$2,000 billion worth of goods and service to China, he said.


In addition, overseas investment by Chinese companies is growing at an average rate of more than 20 percent every year. Asian countries account for 80 percent of the Chinese companies' overseas investment, he said.


"Facts prove that the peaceful development of China has brought about real and tangible benefits to other Asian countries and provided opportunities for the development of Asia," he said.


Joint fight against 'Taiwan independence' called for


China hopes that friends from all sectors of the society in Indonesia will join China's effort to safeguard regional peace and security by jointly opposing "Taiwan independence," Jia said.


He said as every one knows, Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. This issue is an important and sensitive one that concerns the national feeling of the 1.3 billion Chinese people.


Since last year, the mainland of China has adopted a series of active and constructive measures to advance relations across the Taiwan Straits toward the direction of peace and stability, he said, adding these moves have both won wide consent of the compatriots in Taiwan and universal welcome of the international community.


Jia criticized the Taiwan authorities for being hard-headed in maintaining the secessionist stance of "Taiwan independence" and accelerating secessionist activities.


He pointed out that since the beginning of this year, the Taiwan authorities have pressed on with the attempt to seek "Taiwan independence" through "juristic changes" and "constitutional alternation." It has especially despised strong opposition inside and outside the island to forcefully terminate the operation of the "National Unification Council" and the "National Unification Guidelines."


These moves consist "a severe challenge to the one-China principle universally held by the international community and to the peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits," Jia said.


"It is our firm and constant will and determination to oppose the forces and activities of 'Taiwan independence' and to maintain peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits," he added.


Jia stressed that China will continue to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification of the motherland. "But we will definitely not allow the secession of Taiwan from China," he said.


Jia noted the activities of "Taiwan independence" forces are not only a flagrant challenge to the state of relations across the Taiwan Straits, but also "a direct threat to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region."


"On this important issue, we hope that friends from all societies of Indonesia would join us to oppose 'Taiwan independence' and jointly maintain peace and well-being of the region," Jia said.


(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2006)

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