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Premier calls for deepened cooperation in East Asia

Updated: Oct 11,2013 9:35 AM     Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang (front) waves to journalists before taking a group photo with other leaders who attend the 8th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Oct 10, 2013.[Photo by Huang Jingwen/Xinhua]

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN -- Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 10 called for joint efforts in East Asia to keep the sound momentum of development and further enhance the cooperation in the region.

Li made the remarks in an address to the eighth East Asia summit held in the Bruneian capital.

After eight years of development, the summit has become an important bridge linking East Asia and Asia-Pacific, said Li, urging countries in the region to stick to the spirit of openness and inclusiveness in their cooperation.

“We should properly handle problems hindering the development, manage the divergences among us, so as to build a favorable environment for peaceful and secure development in the region,” he said.

To do that, he put forward a three-point proposal.

First, East Asian countries should strengthen strategic cooperation and work together to face challenges.

“We should pay more attention to cooperation in such fields as food and energy security, natural disaster, climate change and public health,” said the Chinese premier, adding that his country stands ready to join hands with relevant countries to promote the green and low-carbon development and people-to-people exchanges in the region.

“Second, we should deepen economic cooperation, accelerate regional integration, and share capital, technology as well as market through regional cooperation,” said the Chinese leader, vowing to conclude negotiations for a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial free trade agreement by the end of 2015, with joint efforts of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership members.

Third, East Asian countries should strengthen security mutual trust, and maintain the stability and peace in the region.

Proposing a regional security framework which conforms with the regional situation and needs of relevant parties, Li called on countries in the region to embrace a new security concept centering on comprehensive, common and cooperative security.

“We should also push forward candid talks and cooperation in traditional and non-traditional security fields, so as to build lasting peace in East Asia,” he noted.

The premier also elaborated China’s stance on the South China Sea issue.

The freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is intact and the safety of navigation there is guaranteed, he said.

China, said the premier, stands ready to continue to work with other countries in the region to maintain the freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea.

China and ASEAN countries have reached consensus that the dispute should be resolved by relevant parties through consultation and negotiation, he added.

“Unilateral referral of the issue to international arbitration runs counter to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) agreed by China and ASEAN countries,” said Li.

The Chinese premier promised that his country will work jointly with ASEAN members to effectively implement the DOC and advance the consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in an active and prudent manner based on the principle of consensus-building.

Faced with unprecedented opportunities of development as well as severe challenges, East Asian countries should adhere to the concept of openness,inclusiveness, cooperation and win-win, abandon the Cold War and zero-game mentality so as to promote the peaceful coexistence and common development in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region at large, he said.

East Asian leaders believed ASEAN should play a leading role in East Asian cooperation given the complex international political and economic situation. Countries in the region should strengthen their communication and coordination to deepen strategic mutual trust and advance practical cooperation.

ASEAN leaders said they are willing to properly handle the South China Sea issue through negotiation and consultation with China with a view to safeguarding peace, stability and prosperity of the region.

Li arrived in Bandar Seri Begawan earlier on Oct 9 to attend a series of East Asian leaders’ meetings and visit the country, the first leg of his maiden Southeast Asia tour since taking office in March. The trip will also take him to Thailand and Vietnam.

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