Wen urges closer relations with ASEAN countries

By Qin Jize and Sun Shangwu (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-31 06:28

"To consolidate and enhance China-ASEAN friendship and co-operation is our shared objective," said Wen, noting that China supports the association's leading role in regional affairs and co-operation.

"We should also step up co-operation on cross-border issues concerning counter-terrorism, transnational crimes, maritime security, rescue operation and disaster relief," he added.

Leaders also expressed concern over the nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) earlier this month.

"We were impressed by the unanimity of every leader on the issue of North Korea (DPRK) and their resolve to work together to seek a diplomatic solution through the resumption of the Six-Party Talks," Arroyo said.

She praised host China for its "hands-on role" in sponsoring the Six-Party Talks.

Wen told a press conference that the summit was unanimously in favour of making the Korean Peninsula nuclear free and urged resumption of Six-Party Talks.

Sino-ASEAN partnership

Trade between China and the ASEAN states has been booming - in the past 15 years it grew more than 20 per cent a year, reaching more than US$130 billion last year.

ASEAN is China's fourth largest trading partner, and China is also ASEAN's fourth biggest.

Volume of bilateral trade is expected to reach US$200 billion by 2008, two years ahead of schedule, due to steps already taken towards the free trade area.