KUALA LUMPUR — China on Nov 21 called on East Asian nations to accelerate their economic integration and safeguard regional stability as the economically converging region seeks closer ties.
The move came as Premier Li Keqiang addressed the 18th ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (ROK) (10+3) leaders’ meeting in Malaysia, rotating chair of the 10-member bloc this year.
The meeting was held weeks after the resumption of the China-Japan-ROK tripartite summit in Seoul following a three-and-half-year hiatus.
It was also staged as the ASEAN community, the first subregional community in Asia, is expected to take shape by the end of this year.
Putting forward a six-point proposal, Premier Li said China stands ready to work with other parties to conclude the prolonged negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by 2016 to promote trade and regional integration.
He also said China’s talks with ASEAN on the upgrading of their free trade area (FTA) will end soon. The China-ASEAN FTA is the largest among developing countries.
Premier Li called on East Asian nations to safeguard the regional financial stability with concerted efforts by enhancing the macro-economic policy coordination and communication between their financial institutions.
The Premier urged a higher level of inter-connectivity in the region and international production capacity cooperation with a focus on areas including major infrastructure construction projects, engineering machinery, power and building materials.
But he stressed that such cooperation should be based on self-willingness, equality terms and mutual benefits.
Premier Li said the region should deepen cooperation in poverty reduction through the development of agriculture and expand people-to-people exchanges.