NAY PYI TAW — Premier Li Keqiang said in Nay Pyi Taw on Nov 13 that China will strengthen cooperation with Southeast Asian countries and upgrade their partnership in the “diamond decade.”
Li, who is in Nay Pyi Taw for a series of leaders’ meetings on East Asian cooperation and an official visit to Myanmar, also called on East Asian countries to maintain peace and stability in the region, push forward regional economic integration and enhance cooperation in finance and regional connectivity.
UPGRADE PARTNERSHIP IN “DIAMOND DECADE”
Li said China and Southeast Asian countries will upgrade their partnership in the “diamond decade” of their cooperation, which would bring more benefits to their peoples and make further contribution to regional and world peace and development.
Li and President U Thein Sein of Myanmar presided over the 17th China-ASEAN leaders’ meeting, during which the participating parties discussed the cooperation between the two sides and reached a wide range of consensus.
Li said the China-ASEAN friendly cooperation has maintained sustained and stable development, which is a good example of regional cooperation in East Asia. The strategic partnership between China and the ASEAN has entered a new historical stage which provides more treasured opportunities for their comprehensive cooperation.
The Chinese government always places the China-ASEAN relationship as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, Li said, adding that China will firmly support the building of the ASEAN community and support the ASEAN’s leading role in East Asian cooperation.
China is willing to expand pragmatic cooperation with ASEAN countries in various fields, continuously deepen integration of interests of both sides, and forge a closer China-ASEAN community with a common destiny, the Premier said.
Building on the achievements of the past “gold decade” of China-ASEAN partnership, Li said there are more favorable conditions for both China and the ASEAN to upgrade their relationship in the upcoming “diamond decade.”
The ASEAN leaders welcomed Li’s proposal to strengthen China-ASEAN cooperation, saying that China, as one of the most important partners of ASEAN, has made positive contribution to regional peace, development, stability and prosperity. ASEAN believes a rising China would benefit the Asia Pacific and the world.
Thanking China for its support, the leaders said ASEAN is willing to increase mutual political trust, implement the 2+7 cooperation framework, deepen pragmatic cooperation, expand two-way trade and economic cooperation and investment, and facilitate regional interconnectivity with China.
They said ASEAN will also actively push forward a good-neighborly cooperation treaty with China and further upgrade the ASEAN-China strategic partnership, in a bid to safeguard regional peace, stability and development.
PEACE, ECONOMIC INTEGRATION
Li called for maintaining peace and stability in East Asia and pushing forward regional economic integration and common development.
He said that the fundamental reason for East Asia’s rapid development is a peaceful and stable regional environment.
Stressing that durable peace and stability require the backing of strong institutional arrangements, Li said at the 9th East Asia Summit 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 concept and framework that are in line with the regional situation.
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 situation in the South China Sea is on the whole stable and the freedom and safety of navigation in the region is ensured.
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.
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.
Li also 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 well implement the projects under the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund, he noted.
FINANCIAL, CONNECTIVITY COOPERATION
Li also called on the East Asian economies to enhance cooperation in finance and regional connectivity.
Li made the remarks while attending the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) Summit.
He said that China is willing to coordinate the implementation of East Asian inter-connectivity, trade and investment, as well as poverty reduction, three of the 25 priority areas listed in the report of the East Asia Vision Group II (EAVGII).
In his six-point proposal on strengthening regional cooperation, Li urged the ASEAN Plus Three countries to promote East Asian economic integration process, enhance the level of regional financial cooperation, strengthen regional connectivity, deepen cooperation to improve people’s livelihood, expand the channel for the people-to-people exchanges and advance public health cooperation.
The premier said that the ASEAN Plus Three countries should enhance financial cooperation and improve the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, which is expected to effectively relieve regional short-term liquidity strains.
He also urged to establish an efficient regional mechanism for economic regulation, coordination and early warning step by step. China and ASEAN should further expand the scale and width of the local currency swap, enlarge the local currency settlement in the cross-border trade, Li told the summit.
Regarding regional inter-connectivity construction, the premier said China stands ready to strengthen coordination with Japan and South Korea to give a full display of their edges in capital, technology and talents to assist ASEAN in its infrastructure construction.
He also pledged that China will provide 30 million yuan ($4.9 million) for the East Asia Maritime Cooperation platform. Talking about the agriculture cooperation, Li said that all sides should enhance their cooperation in agricultural technical exchanges and food security, as well as improve the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve mechanism, in a bid to feed East Asia.
Stressing the importance of peace and stability, Li urged countries in the region to treat each other on an equal footing with mutual trusts.
“We should discard the zero-sum mentality of win-or-lose and make a joint effort to control conflicts and differences, so as not to lose East Asia’s historical development opportunities because of the distraction,” Li told the summit.
He also voiced his country’s willingness to reach a treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation with the ASEAN members.
Li arrived here Wednesday to attend a series of leaders’ meetings on East Asia cooperation and pay an official visit to Myanmar.