Full text: Premier Li gives joint written interview to media from ASEAN countriesUpdated: 2013-10-09 06:51
BEIJING - Premier Li Keqiang gave a joint written interview to media from countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ahead of his official visit to Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam as well as his attendance to the East Asia leaders' meetings.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Question: This year marks the 10th anniversary of China-ASEAN strategic partnership. How do you evaluate the achievements of this relationship over the past decade? What tangible benefits has this relationship brought to the two sides?
Answer: This year is indeed worthy of celebration for China and ASEAN. Ten years ago, China took the lead in acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and established the strategic partnership for peace and prosperity with ASEAN. It was also the first time for China to establish a global strategic partnership with an organization of nations within this region, which highlights the importance of ASEAN on China's diplomatic agenda. Against the backdrop of evolving international situation and growing world economy amid adjustments over the past decade, China and ASEAN have seized the opportunities, advanced with the trend of peace and development, and opened a "golden decade" of cooperation.
Over the past decade, China and ASEAN have stayed committed to strategic dialogue, enhanced political mutual trust, and strengthened mutual understanding and support in many important international and regional affairs. Over the past decade, China and ASEAN have advanced practical cooperation and set up the world's largest free trade area among developing countries. China is now ASEAN's biggest trading partner and ASEAN China's third largest trading partner. Last year, two-way trade exceeded US$400 billion, five times that of ten years ago; mutual investment totaled over US$100 billion, three times that of ten years ago. Over the past decade, China and ASEAN have increased people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Exchange of visits reached 15 million last year, four times that of ten years ago. China has become ASEAN's second largest source of tourists, and over 1,000 flights shuttle between the two sides every week. Over the past decade, China and ASEAN have stood side by side in times of adversity. On the basis of successfully fending off the Asian financial crisis, the two sides properly responded to the international financial crisis, and helped each other in tackling such major natural disasters and epidemics as the Indian Ocean tsunamis, the SARS epidemic and earthquakes.
The China-ASEAN strategic partnership has made such good progress as it serves the fundamental interests of both sides and complies with the trend of the times for peace, development and cooperation in the region. As long as we stay on the right course, and uphold the principles of mutual respect, equality, good-neighborliness and mutual benefit, as long as we continue to work together to maintain regional peace and stability, and deepen regional cooperation to drive economic development and improve people's livelihood, the China-ASEAN strategic partnership is bound to make even further progress and bring greater benefits to our region and people of various countries.