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Nation to sign ASEAN integration agreements
By Sun Shangwu (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-25 00:56

China will sign a series of agreements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to push regional integration in East Asia, said Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei Wednesday in Beijing.

From November 28 to 30, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the meetings in Vientiane, Laos, including the eighth summit between ASEAN and China (10--1), and between ASEAN and China, Japan and ROK (10--3), as well as the sixth China, Japan and ROK summit.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

During the 10--1 summit, China and ASEAN will sign the framework agreement on full co-operation and the China-ASEAN memorandum of understanding on communications co-operation, Wu said at a news briefing yesterday.

The two sides will also sign an agreement on trade and an agreement on a dispute settlement mechanism, according to Wu.

"The signing of the two agreements will not only be a breakthrough in the process of negotiation of a China-ASEAN free trade area (FTA), but also enhance political trust between China and the ASEAN nations," Xinhua quoted Dato'A. K. Majid, chairman of the ASEAN Committee of Beijing, as saying on Tuesday.

The signing of the two agreements has been viewed as one of the important purposes of Wen's tour, according to the Xinhua report.

The agreements on goods trade will pave the way for the full establishment of the FTA, which includes the negotiation on goods and service trade as well as investment, Majid said.

China and ASEAN will release an action plan for advancing the strategic partnership at the summit and the plan aims to make full co-operation in the following five years, according to Wu.

Chinese Premier Wen will raise some specific proposals on advancing partnerships with ASEAN, such as energy co-operation and encouraging youth exchanges, Wu said.

China and ASEAN have so far established six co-operative mechanisms attended by ministers of foreign affairs, economics, communications, customs, procurator-generals and youth affairs.

For the 10--3 summit, leaders will discuss how to develop the proposed East Asian Community.

While leaders from China, the ROK and Japan will map out an action strategy for their co-operation at their summit, Wu said.

"China is willing to make joint efforts with Japan and the ROK to increase policy exchanges and co-ordination and to promote stability and development in the region," said Wu.

China is pleased to see the development of the whole region, instead of just seeking gains for itself when launching co-operation with ASEAN as well as the ROK and Japan, he said.

ASEAN, the ROK and Japan all enjoy trade surplus with China.

"For this temporary trade imbalance, China has taken a very realistic stance," Wu said, "I think in the long run, our trading ties and economic co-operation will all benefit."

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