China focuses on regional cooperationUpdated: 2013-10-09 19:55
BEIJING - China hopes the upcoming leaders' meetings will focus on regional cooperation and promote the relationship between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
Spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks at a daily news briefing after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Brunei earlier on Wednesday for the meetings.
During his stay in Brunei, which holds the rotating chair of 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.
When asked whether a Code of Conduct in South China Sea (COC) will be discussed during the meetings, Hua said China and ASEAN had reached important consensus on safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea.
All the sides concerned should implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and push forward the consultation process in a concerted way. They should continue to maintain dialogue and cooperation and continue to maintain peace and stability in the region, said the spokeswoman.
China and members of ASEAN signed the DOC in 2002 and pledged to maintain self-restraint and not conduct activities that might complicate or escalate disputes in the region.
At the briefing, Hua also quoted Premier Li's remarks in a written interview ahead of his attendance to meetings.
In the joint written interview to media from countries of ASEAN, Li said the China-ASEAN relationship now "stands at a new historical starting point."
"We need to build on the achievements of the 'golden decade,' explore new strategic breakthroughs, and jointly build a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny," said the premier.
In the interview, Li listed seven areas that he believed the leaders should focus their efforts on, including boosting cultural and scientific exchanges and cooperation, building a maritime cooperation partnership, building an "upgraded version" of the China-ASEAN free trade area, pushing forward connectivity, strengthening exchange and cooperation in the security field and strengthening financial cooperation, and discussing the signing of a friendly cooperation treaty between China and the ASEAN
"I look forward to exchanging views with leaders of other countries on issues of common interest and, in particular, to hearing their views on the above-mentioned seven proposals," Li said.
"Together, we will build new consensus on elevating the China-ASEAN strategic partnership," he added.
Besides Brunei, Li will also make official visits to Thailand and Vietnam after the meetings.
When asked about media reports that China will import more rice from Thailand, Hua said China and Thailand are cooperating well in agricultural trade and China will further step up communication and cooperation with the Thai side.