China, ASEAN voice commitment to sustainable development

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China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Friday expressed their common commitment to sustainable development.

In a joint statement released here at the 13th China-ASEAN Summit, leaders from both sides reaffirmed their "shared desire and responsibility to promote peace, security, prosperity and sustainable development for the region and the international community."

Since China and the 10-member regional bloc established their strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in 2003, satisfactory progress has been achieved, "including fruitful cooperation in the field of sustainable development," the document noted.

Looking to the future, the two sides will further boost regional economic and financial cooperation under the ASEAN Plus Three framework, which also groups Japan and South Korea, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and ASEAN leaders declared in the statement.

The summit also emphasized the need to "promote market openness and reject all forms of protectionism to ensure an open and predictable multilateral trading system," and called for an early conclusion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks with "a comprehensive and balanced outcome."

The two sides also agreed to make full use of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area platform, formally established on Jan. 1, 2010, and further expand two-way trade and investment.

Environmental protection was another key point of the joint statement. Participating leaders vowed to step up cooperation in such fields as biodiversity and ecological conservation, cleaner production, environmental education and environment-friendly urban development.

Meanwhile, the two sides committed themselves to better communicating and cooperating in the international climate change negotiations, including efforts toward a global legally-binding framework based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

Other priorities listed in the statement included strengthening China-ASEAN cooperation in agriculture and food production, science and technology, poverty reduction, disaster management and assistance to the least developed members of ASEAN.

Regarding ASEAN's integration, China reaffirmed its support for the group's bid to realize the ASEAN Community by 2015, which is expected to comprise the ASEAN Political Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

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