NAY PYI TAW — Premier Li Keqiang on Nov 13 called for maintaining peace and stability in East Asia and pushing forward regional economic integration and common development.
Li, who is in Nay Pyi Taw for a series of leaders’ meetings on East Asian cooperation and an official visit to Myanmar, said that the fundamental reason for East Asia’s rapid development is a peaceful and stable regional environment.
“The two wheels of political and security field and the economic field should move forward at the same time,” he said at the 9th East Asia Summit, calling on the economically dynamic region to strive for progress in both aspects.
Stressing that durable peace and stability requires the backing of strong institutional arrangements, he said that China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members are discussing the possibility of concluding a treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation.
“The treaty is aimed at providing an institutional framework and legal guarantee for peaceful co-existence between the two sides from generation to generation,” Li said.
He said China is willing to sign legal documents with more countries in the region on good-neighborliness and friendship, and to discuss the security concepts and frameworks that are in line with the realities of the region.
China, which is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development, is ready to work with other countries in the region to build an Asian community of shared interests, shared responsibilities and a shared destiny, Li vowed.
He said China has always been an important force for peace and stability in the region. On non-traditional security, Li stated that China stands ready to work with others in the region to address issues including terrorism, infectious diseases, climate change and disaster management.
Regarding the maritime issues, the premier said the overall situation in the South China Sea is stable and the freedom and safety of navigation in the region is ensured.
Li called on all parties to advance East Asia maritime cooperation. With next year being the Year of Maritime Cooperation between China and ASEAN, the two sides should take this opportunity to strengthen the dialogue between their maritime law enforcement organs and to effectively implement the projects under the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund, he noted.
China and ASEAN members have identified the dual-track approach for dealing with the South China Sea issue, he said, according to which specific disputes are to be solved through negotiations and consultations by countries directly concerned and peace and stability in the region be jointly upheld by China and ASEAN countries working together.
“China and ASEAN agreed to actively carry out consultation to reach, on the basis of consensus and at an early date, a code of conduct in the South China Sea, for which early harvest has been achieved,” Li said.
“In seeking the settlement of disputes, China proposes that relevant countries actively explore joint development, as this is a realistic and effective way to management differences,” he added.
China and ASEAN agreed to establish a hotline platform for joint search and rescue at sea among their maritime authorities as well as a senior officials’ hotline among foreign ministries of various countries for coping with maritime contingencies, according to the premier.
Various parties are exploring the establishment of a mechanism of exchanges and cooperation among littoral states of the South China Sea, Li said. He also said that China will provide 30 million yuan ($4.9 million) for the East Asia Maritime Cooperation platform.
At the summit, China offered loans worth over 20 billion dollars to support the Southeast Asian connectivity construction. The offer, including a preferential loan worth 10 billion dollars for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and a $10-billion special loan set up by China Development Bank for the regional infrastructure development.
Li said that China will also set aside altogether 30 million yuan (4.9 million) in the next three years for the China-ASEAN economic and technical cooperation.
China will start raising 3 billion dollars for the second phase of the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund, according to the premier. The Fund targets investment opportunities in infrastructure, energy and natural resources in the ASEAN countries.
Li also announced his country’s financial support for the ASEAN members in their anti-poverty effort. China will offer assistance worth 3 billion yuan ($480 million) to less developed ASEAN members next year to help the regional bloc reduce poverty.
China will also offer 100 million yuan ($16 million) for rural poverty reduction project in East Asia, said Premier Li while attending the East Asia Summit.
China, which regards ASEAN as a priority in its diplomacy with neighboring countries, is the largest trading partner of the 10-member regional bloc. ASEAN has emerged as China’s third-largest partner, a major investment destination and an important tourist destination.
To achieve regional economic integration, the premier urged cooperation in six key areas, including promoting trade and investment facilitation, accelerating interconnectivity, expanding financial cooperation, stepping up poverty reduction cooperation, advancing maritime cooperation as well as intensifying people-to-people exchanges.
He said that China will work with other parties to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) before the end of 2015, and called for strengthening financial and fiscal cooperation with a special focus on improving the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, which is expected to effectively relieve regional short-term liquidity strains.
Leaders at the summit agreed that East Asian countries should further expand dialogues, deepen pragmatic cooperation and advance regional economic integration so as to enhance the peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and the world at large.