-- China will actively promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges with ASEAN countries. People play an essential role in enhancing state-to-state relations and interactions between people are instrumental to strong friendship. This year is the Year of China-ASEAN Friendship and Exchange. Over 40 large events have been planned for the year and are being implemented, covering culture, education, tourism, journalism, youth and other areas. Among them, the "Experience China" event has been launched in Indonesia. ASEAN will feature prominently in the Asian Culture Festival to be held in China. The two sides have drawn up the plan to increase the numbers of Chinese students in ASEAN countries and ASEAN students in China to 100,000 respectively by 2020. The spectacular natural beauty and the rich folk culture of China and Southeast Asia are our unique assets for promoting mutual understanding and friendship between our people. At the China-ASEAN Summit last year, a target was announced to have 15 million mutual visits between the two sides by 2015. We need to further tap the potential of cooperation in education and tourism, and encourage more two-way flow of students and tourists so that our traditional friendship will win greater popular support and be passed on from generation to generation.
-- China will continue to assist the less developed countries in ASEAN with no conditions attached. Due to historical reasons, some ASEAN members have yet to get rid of poverty. China will, as always, support their development endeavor and do what it can to help them. China's support and assistance are sincere and selfless with no strings attached. As an old Chinese saying goes, "It is better to teach one how to fish than simply give him a fish." China has learned from its own development that to shake off poverty and backwardness once and for all, a country must rely on well-trained professionals and science and technology. The Chinese government will increase input in capacity-building and human resources training to help the less developed ASEAN members gain faster progress towards their development goals.
-- China stands ready to work with ASEAN to maintain regional security and stability. History tells us that peace is a blessing while chaos a scourge. There is no denying that there are some disputes over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in this region. We need to adhere to the principle of good-neighborliness and equal consultation, and work tirelessly for proper solutions to these issues through bilateral channels. China disapproves of any attempt to play up or create tensions and make the issues bigger and more complicated. We are firmly against the use or threat of force. Over the years, China and ASEAN members have made important contributions to maintaining the security of and unfettered access to the international shipping lanes. These contributions have been widely recognized. China will continue to honor its due responsibilities and obligations. China wants to work more closely with ASEAN to tackle such non-traditional security threats as terrorism, transnational crimes, natural disasters and communicable diseases, and foster a peaceful and harmonious social environment.
-- China supports efforts to steadily push forward East Asian cooperation and maintain its openness. Openness and transparency are the source of vitality of regional cooperation. East Asian cooperation has always been open and non-exclusive since its very beginning. In recent years, the East Asian region, including ASEAN, has become the most dynamic and fastest-growing region, with rising status and influence on the world economic stage. To involve countries and regions outside the region in East Asian cooperation is a natural choice that conforms to the trend of economic globalization. China welcomes all the proposals that are conducive to regional stability and development, and supports the participation of the United States, Russia, the European Union and other countries and organizations in the East Asian cooperation process. It is important to note that the independence and diversity of East Asia must be respected. And in advancing East Asian cooperation, we should follow a step-by-step approach. We should start with the easier tasks before moving on to the more difficult ones. The priority now is to bring into full play the role of the existing cooperation frameworks, including 10+1, 10+3, and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, and at the same time explore other cooperation models consistent with the characteristics of the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the past 60 years since the founding of New China, particularly since reform and opening-up, China's economy has grown fast, the Chinese people's livelihood has improved significantly, and China's international standing has risen steadily. Yet China remains a developing country. There is no change of this basic feature about China. Nor is there any change in China's commitment to an independent foreign policy of peace, and to good-neighborliness and cooperation with ASEAN countries.
How do we Chinese see ourselves? And how do we view our relations with the world? I want to say we are both confident and clear-headed. We are confident about the development path we have chosen and about our future. We are clear-headed because we know full well the difficulties and risks we face. True, China's economic aggregates are growing year by year, yet when divided by 1.3 billion, they only ranked around 100th in the world. Much remains to be done if China is to meet the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We still have a long way to go before we can achieve modernization.
Lao Tzu, the Great ancient Chinese thinker, once observed in his well-known work, the Tao Te Ching, "He who knows others is intelligent; He who knows himself is wise." I am now in my ninth year as Chinese Premier. I am heartened by the development and progress of my motherland. Yet at the same time, I often find it difficult to eat or sleep with ease as I have to think long and hard about the ways to counter the various difficulties and challenges facing China. It is true that some regions and some people in China have become rich. But there are still those who have not come out of poverty and face pressing difficulties in education, medical care and social security. We have encountered all the difficulties that many other countries came across in their industrialization and urbanization process. We have even run into challenges that others never experienced. We cannot afford to slacken our efforts in the slightest if we are to live up the people's trust and expectations. We must be receptive to the good experience of other countries. More importantly, we must make bold experiment and exploration in keeping with China's national conditions. To advance national development and meet the needs of the 1.3 billion people represent hefty responsibilities on our shoulders and call for long and arduous efforts. China has no reason whatsoever to be complacent.
With a cultural heritage running several thousand years, the Chinese nation values peace and more than anything else. We keep good faith, build amicable ties, and treat others with respect. The ancient Silk Road was used to transport exquisite textiles, tea and porcelain to faraway countries. And Zheng He did not take a single inch of foreign land on his seven voyages to the Western seas. China cannot develop itself in isolation form the world. Nor can the world achieve prosperity without China. The Chinese people cherish their friendship and cooperation with other countries and peoples, and value even more deeply their hard-won independence. I believe this is a shared feeling among people in Southeast Asia and in China. China's development will not stand in the way of any country, nor will it ever pose a threat to any country. China is firmly committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and will always pursue peaceful development for generations to come.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As an Indonesian proverb reads, "jauh di mata, dekat di hati (Though living far, it is close to my heart)." The Chinese people cherish beautiful impression of indonesia. They are enchanted by its unique island landscape, diverse culture, and exotic atmosphere. Half a century ago, China, Indonesia and many other newly independent Asian countries came onto the international political stage, announcing the birth of an new Asia. Today, we are witnessing the all-round rise of Asia and a great rejuvenation of the Oriental Civilization. The dream of our forefathers for a thriving Asia is coming true in our time. And China and Indonesia are important force driving in this epoch-making change. Similar historical experiences brought us together, and a shared historical mission will link us even more closely. Let us join hands to strengthen our good-neighborly relationship, deepen comprehensive cooperation, create a bright future, and usher in an Asian century.
Terima Kasih. (Thank you.)