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Premier to push for East Asia cooperation at leaders’ meeting

Updated: Nov 18,2015 3:48 PM

Premier Li Keqiang is expected to raise a series of cooperative initiatives while attending the annual East Asia leaders’ meetings in Malaysia later this week in a bid to secure the region as “a stable growth pole”, according to senior ministerial officials.

Premier Li will arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 20. During the four-day visit, he will attend the 18th leaders’ meeting between China and ASEAN (10+1), the 18th ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea leaders’ meeting (10+3) and the 10th East Asia Summit.

During the leaders’ meeting between China and ASEAN, Premier Li will further explain China’s policy toward ASEAN and seek to advance development initiatives such as the China-ASEAN common destiny, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the “2+7” cooperation framework, Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said at a news briefing on Nov 18.

“China is committed to improving its relations with ASEAN by boosting cooperation in industrial capacity and interconnectivity,” he said.

For the “10+3” meeting, China will push all sides to further implement the 10+3 work plan for 2013-17 while facilitating cooperation in traditional areas such as finance and food security, Liu said. He added that related countries will also tap cooperation potential in new areas such as interconnectivity, international industrial capacity, poverty alleviation, energy and disaster relief.

“We will work to speed up negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Agreement in a bid to build the East Asian economic community by 2020,” he said.

For this year’s East Asia Summit, Premier Li will highlight China’s opinion about the development of the summit, which should continue to position itself as a strategy forum, driven by economic development and political security.

“Various sides should further carry out the Phnom Penh Declaration and seek cooperation in energy, finance, education, public health, disaster management and ASEAN interconnectivity,” Liu said.

Gao Yan, vice-minister of Commerce, said East Asia has been one of the regions showing greatest development potential and prospects.

“Reinforced economic and trade links among related countries will help stabilize healthy regional and global growth,” Gao said.

China has been ASEAN’s top trade partner for six consecutive years, while ASEAN was China’s third-largest trade partner for four straight years. Bilateral trade during the first 10 months this year reached $379.2 billion, according to Gao.