China, ASEAN forge strategic partnership for peace, prosperity
( 2003-10-08 20:59) (Xinhua)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China agreed on Wednesday to establish "a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity," in a bid to further strengthen their cooperation in the 21st century.
"In today's world that is undergoing complex and profound changes, the enhanced cooperation between ASEAN and China, as two important partners in the Asia-Pacific region, will serve the immediate and long term interests of both sides and is conducive to peace and prosperity in the region," the declaration said.
"To this end, we agree that ASEAN and China establish 'a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity.'"
The purpose of the establishment of a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity is "to foster friendly relations, mutually beneficial cooperation and good neighborliness" between ASEAN and China by deepening and expanding ASEAN-China cooperative relations in a comprehensive manner in the 21st century, it declared.
The strategic partnership is a comprehensive and forward- looking cooperation focusing on politics, economy, social affairs, security and international and regional affairs.
To achieve this end, both sides will strengthen high-level exchanges and contacts, consolidate and deepen understanding and friendship among the peoples of ASEAN and China and give fuller and more effective play to the role of dialogue and consultation mechanism at different levels.
They also agree to continue consultation on China's intention to accede to the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.
Regarding economic cooperation, China and ASEAN will give full play to the respective strength of their markets and maintain the rapidly growing momentum of their economic relations and trade in order to achieve the goal of 100 billion US dollars of two-way annual trade by 2005.
Both sides agree to speed up their talks on the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement, which has become a key pillar in ASEAN-China economic cooperation, and deepen cooperation in key areas, such as agriculture, information and telecommunications, human resources development, two-way investment and the Mekong River Basin development,
In social cooperation, they will implement the consensus of the Special ASEAN-China Leaders' Meeting on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which was held in April 2003, and further activate exchanges in science and technology, environment, education, and culture as well as personnel exchange, and improve cooperation mechanisms in these areas.
Joint efforts will be made in security cooperation by expediting the implementation of the Joint Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Non-Traditional Security Issues and by holding ASEAN-China security related dialogue to enhance mutual understanding and promote peace and security in the region.
They also agree, in the declaration, to boost their cooperate on major regional and international issues for the maintenance of regional peace and stability,
While maintaining close coordination and cooperation within the framework of the ASEAN Regional Forum and promoting its healthy development, they will make the ASEAN+3 mechanism as the main channel to move forward cooperation and regional economic integration in East Asia and Asia as a whole so as to promote sustainable development and common prosperity there, said the declaration.
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