BEIJING — Premier Li Keqiang will visit Laos on Sept 6-9 to attend a series of summits including the 19th China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders’ meeting.
Premier Li’s visit is widely considered as an important diplomatic action to deepen China-ASEAN relations and promote cooperation among East Asian countries. Here is a glimpse of what Premier Li has said about ASEAN in recent years:
On Aug 1, 2016, Premier Li said in a congratulatory letter to the Ninth China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week held in China’s southwestern city of Guiyang that people-to-people exchanges, including educational exchanges, are emerging as a new pillar of China-ASEAN relations and showing broad prospects.
On July 19, 2016 in Beijing, Premier Li said in a congratulatory message sent to Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith that the China-ASEAN dialogue relationship, established 25 years ago, has withstood various tests and the two-way cooperation has yielded plentiful fruits, bringing tangible benefits to the people of both sides and becoming a paradigm of equal treatment and common development between countries of different sizes.
On July 15, 2016 in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, Premier Li said China will stick to the approach of settling the South China Sea disputes via dialogue and consultation between countries directly concerned, while protecting regional peace and stability as well as freedom of navigation in collaboration with ASEAN member states.
On June 3, 2016 in Beijing, Premier Li said during a state visit by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni that China supports ASEAN’s integration process and the construction of the ASEAN community, adding that the China-Cambodia friendship complements China-ASEAN relations.
On May 31, 2016 in Beijing, Premier Li said China stands ready to work with ASEAN members and other Asian countries to enhance mutual political trust, integrate development strategies, expand mutually beneficial cooperation and increase people-to-people exchanges.
On March 23, 2016 in Sanya, China’s Hainan province, Premier Li said that China firmly supports ASEAN’s integration, and that the Lancang-Mekong cooperation will supplement China-ASEAN relations.
On Nov 22, 2015, Premier Li said while attending the 18th China-ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that China and ASEAN countries commit themselves to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, accelerate consultations to strive for an early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) on the basis of consensus, and take steps to improve regional mechanisms for mutual trust and cooperation.
On Nov 21, 2015, Premier Li pledged during the 18th China-ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur that China is offering infrastructure loans totaling $10 billion to ASEAN countries. The China-ASEAN relationship transcends bilateral dimension and is becoming an important cornerstone of peace, stability and development of East Asia, he said.
Premier Li called on China and ASEAN to speed up the implementation of the outcomes of the negotiations on an upgrade of their Free Trade Agreement, and make concerted efforts to conclude as early as possible the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Premier Li called on China and ASEAN to conjoin China’s Belt and Road Initiative with other regional development strategies to promote integration.
China and ASEAN should also explore potential in international production capacity cooperation and jointly boost cooperation in security, Premier Li said.
He also asked the two sides to promote the sustainable development of the region by promoting maritime cooperation, strengthening agricultural capacity construction, building a platform for sharing information on environmental protection and deepening people-to-people exchanges.