Chinese premier starts 1st Southeast Asia visitUpdated: 2013-10-09 15:22
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Brunei Wednesday, setting in motion his first visit to Southeast Asia since assuming premiership in March.
During his stay in Brunei, which holds the rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Li will attend the 16th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting, the 16th ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea leaders' meeting and the eighth East Asia summit.
He is expected to expound China's views and table concrete proposals on further promoting cooperation and development in the region. Main topics include upgrading the China-ASEAN free trade area, establishing an Asian infrastructure investment bank and expanding regional maritime cooperation.
In addition, the Chinese premier will hold talks with Bruneian Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to cement mutual understanding and trust, and boost bilateral practical cooperation so as to further advance the relations between the two countries.
Since establishing diplomatic relations 22 years ago, China and Brunei have enjoyed steady development of bilateral relations. High-level contact and people-to-people exchanges have been gathering steam, and cooperation is expanding in such areas as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, fishery and defense.
In his message to Li on the occasion of China's National Day, Hassanal said he looked forward to Li's visit and regarded it as an important opportunity to strengthen the valuable and time-honored ties between the two nations.
Brunei is the first leg of Li's ongoing Southeast Asia trip, which will also take him to Thailand and Vietnam.