SINGAPORE — Premier Li Keqiang on Nov 14 called for deepening cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and lifting their strategic partnership to a higher level.
Premier Li made the remarks at the 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) summit, which was also held to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.
China firmly supports the building of ASEAN community and firmly supports ASEAN in playing a central role in regional cooperation, Premier Li said at the summit co-chaired by him and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
China and ASEAN should deepen all-around cooperation, join hands to establish higher-level strategic partnership, and build a closer community with shared future, Premier Li said.
Urging China and ASEAN to enhance strategic planning, Premier Li said the two sides should, under the guidance of ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with the ASEAN Vision 2025, and strengthen the building of the three pillars — the political security, economy and trade, and people-to-people exchanges, so as to lift China-ASEAN relations to a higher level.
To deepen economic and trade cooperation, Premier Li expects China and ASEAN to work with other relevant countries to substantially conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at an early date, expand cooperation areas, and break down trade barriers to promote trade and investment.
On cultivating new areas of innovation cooperation, Premier Li said, as this year is the China-ASEAN Year of Innovation, the two sides should discuss the establishment of a new mechanism for science and technology innovation cooperation, implement the science and technology partnership program, conduct research and prepare to sign the cooperation documents on smart cities, and support the establishment of a digital platform for tourism in ASEAN.
To consolidate the pillar for people-to-people exchanges, Premier Li said China will set up a China-ASEAN scholarship, carry out a research and study program for about 1,000 youth leaders from China and ASEAN, and invite another 1,000 outstanding young people from ASEAN to take training programs in China.
The Premier also proposed expanding security cooperation, saying China is ready to work with ASEAN to institutionalize the joint naval drills, set up a direct hotline between their defense ministries at an early date, carry out friendly exchanges between defense think tanks and junior officers and deepen cooperation in disaster prevention and reduction, humanitarian aid and counter-terrorism.
Calling the summit a milestone for bilateral strategic partnership, ASEAN leaders said ASEAN-China relations have been upgraded due to frequent high-level contacts, strong economic connection and close personnel exchanges.
Safeguarding multilateralism and free trade serves the interests of both sides, the leaders said, adding that ASEAN is ready to align its development strategies with the Belt and Road Initiative and open up more space for cooperation.
They also agreed on enhancing collaboration in connectivity, innovation, smart-city construction, e-commerce, digital economy and other areas so as to facilitate regional economic integration and the building of an East Asian Community.
At the summit, China and ASEAN adopted the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, issued a joint statement on science and technology innovation cooperation, and declared the year 2019 as the Year of Media Exchanges between the two sides.