Wen raises proposal to boost China-ASEAN ties

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, October 29, 2010
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (4th L) attends a welcoming dinner hosted by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for leaders attending the 17th ASEAN Summit and related summits in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, Oct. 29, 2010. [Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday made proposals for boosting cooperation, especially in economy and trade, at a series of ongoing summits between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners including China, Japan and South Korea.

He attended the China-ASEAN summit, the summit of ASEAN Plus Three, namely China, Japan and South Korea, and a meeting of the leaders of the three countries.

Wen also held bilateral talks with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines.

China-ASEAN Cooperation

Wen and other leaders at the 13th summit between China and the ASEAN voiced their commitment to further strengthening their strategic partnership and comprehensive cooperation.

Wen made a six-point proposal to further enhance the strategic partnership between China and Southeast Asian nations, saying the cooperation has been "most pragmatic, most extensive and most fruitful."

"We should continue to pursue peaceful development through friendly cooperation" and must work together to ensure that "the China-ASEAN cooperation stay at the forefront of East Asian cooperation," Wen said.

Topping the list of priorities is the further promotion of economic and trade relations between the two sides, Wen said.

Wen said China will further expand imports from and facilitate trade with ASEAN members in the coming years in the hope of bringing the annual bilateral trade value to 500 billion U.S. dollars by 2015.

ASEAN plus 3 summit

At the ASEAN Plus Three summit involving ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea, Wen proposed that they speed up work on establishing the East Asia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and boost cooperation in finance and other areas.

"Stronger ASEAN Plus Three cooperation is essential to the revitalization of East Asia," Wen said at the summit.

On the East Asia FTA, Wen said China, as the lead sherpa of the ASEAN Plus Three business cooperation, has put forward the roadmap for ASEAN Plus Three trade facilitation for the next five years.

"China will consult with other parties and propose specific measures to further advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation within the region," he said.

With China, Japan and South Korea each having their respective FTAs with the ASEAN in place, the three countries should move faster towards the establishment of a free trade agreement, Wen said.

China, Japan and South Korea have decided to sign a tripartite investment agreement as soon as possible and complete the joint FTA study involving the government, industry, and academia by 2012, he said.

Wen also called for efforts to deepen financial cooperation, saying that the two sides should make the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization more effective and improve its operation procedures.

Meanwhile, those countries should probe ways to encourage cross-border bond transaction and settlement in the region, and intensify the capacity-building for the development of the bond market, he said.

The premier also called for promoting cooperation in food security, agriculture, infrastructure construction and education.

On food security, Wen said China stands ready to join efforts with all other parties to build the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve. He pledged a further 1 million dollars in donation to the reserve.

Wen also urged the strengthening of communication and coordination among the ASEAN Plus Three on major international issues, and pushed for positive outcomes at major international conferences like the G20 summit.

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