China, ASEAN agree to further enhancing strategic partnership

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, October 30, 2010
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China and ASEAN leaders held in Hanoi Friday the 13th summit, both sides expressed their commitment to further strengthening the strategic partnership and comprehensive cooperation. During the summit, the leaders of China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) noted with satisfaction the fine achievements in implementing the 2006-2010 Plan of Action to realize the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, and agreed to adopt the new Plan of Action for the period of 2011-2015.

ASEAN appreciated China's support for its community building efforts and central role in regional cooperation processes. The leaders also discussed ways and means to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations in 2011 which has been defined as the ASEAN-China Exchange and Friendship year.

The leaders welcomed the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) and other related agreements started from January 1, 2010. China has now become ASEAN's largest trading partner, with two-way trade amounted to over 200 billion U.S. dollars. The two sides agreed to promote effective implementation of agreements within the framework of ACFTA towards the goal of increasing two-way trade volume to 500 billion U.S. dollars and China's investment into ASEAN to 10 billion U.S. dollars by 2015.

The leaders also adopted the ASEAN-China leaders' Joint Statement on Sustainable Development, reaffirming their strong commitment to strengthen comprehensive cooperation towards a balanced and sustained development in the future, especially in effectively addressing and dealing with emerging challenges, namely environment, climate change, natural disasters, energy security, food security.

Leaders of ASEAN countries and China underscored the importance of continued dialogue and cooperation for peace, security and development in the region. The two sides agreed to intensify cooperation to address regional and international issues of common interest, particularly those non-traditional challenges facing the region.

During the summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao offered a six- point proposal to further enhance the strategic partnership between China and Southeast Asian nations.

Cooperation between China and ASEAN has for years been "most pragmatic, most extensive and most fruitful," he told the 13th China-ASEAN Summit.

"Looking ahead, we should continue to pursue peaceful development through friendly cooperation" and must work closely with each other to ensure that "China-ASEAN cooperation will stay at the forefront of East Asian cooperation," Wen added.

Top on his priorities list is that the two sides, with China being ASEAN's biggest trading partner and ASEAN being China's fourth, should push forward the sustainable, sound and rapid development of economic relations and trade.

The Jan. 1, 2010 establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) has significantly accelerated flows of capital, materials, technologies, human resources and other production factors between the two sides, he noted.

Chinese statistics showed that trade volume between the two sides reached 211.31 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months this year, marking a 43.7 percent rise year on year, Wen said, adding that the yearly total volume is likely to create a new high.

In the coming years, he continued, China will further expand imports from and facilitate trade with ASEAN members, in the hope of bringing bilateral trade to a yearly volume of 500 billion dollars by 2015.

On this occasion, the leaders witnessed the launching of the ASEAN-China website that provides updated information on the ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations. The economic ministers of ASEAN countries and China signed, on the same day, the Second Protocol to Amend the Agreement on Trade in Goods of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Co- operation between ASEAN and China; Representatives of Chinese and ASEAN Banks concluded the Framework Agreement to Establish a China- ASEAN Inter-Bank Association.

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