Leaders of the 16 nations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will meet for the first time since 2012 at the 12th East Asia Summit in Manila next week, which Premier Li Keqiang will attend, a senior official said.
Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said China will support the leading role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the proposed free trade agreement talks and for their successful conclusion at an early date.
The 16 leaders will evaluate progress and exchange views on negotiations, which are at a crucial stage, he said.
The meeting was proposed by ASEAN and the Philippines, this year’s ASEAN chair, he said. China continues to support the role RCEP can play in regional development and prosperity.
Premier Li will attend a series of high-level meetings in the Philippines from Nov 12 to 16, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Nov 5.
Premier Li will also attend the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders’ meeting, and the 20th ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (10+3) leaders’ meeting.
Chen Xiaodong, assistant foreign minister, said China and ASEAN will formulate a China-ASEAN 2030 vision.
From January to July, trade between China and ASEAN increased 14.5 percent year-on-year, making China ASEAN’s biggest trade partner for eight consecutive years.
Some 30 agreements will be signed at the China-ASEAN leaders’ meetings in areas such as connectivity, food safety, poverty alleviation and anti-corruption. It also will be the first trip by a Chinese premier to the Philippines in 10 years, Chen said. Premier Li will hold talks with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Chen said. They will also attend ceremonies for several infrastructure projects that China subsidized.
Chen said that China and ASEAN are both pressing ahead consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and expect to announce positive progress during the meetings.