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Growing relationship between China and ASEAN highlighted

Updated: 2014-11-10 09:50
By Li Xiaokun and Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

Indonesia supports the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and expects to join at an early date, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Sunday.

The Indonesian leader is in Beijing to attend the APEC meeting, and he made the remarks when he met President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People.

Indonesia is the only member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that has yet to sign up for the bank, Indonesian Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto disclosed on Friday. He said the Indonesian government agreed in principle to join the AIIB, but it had several conditions.

The AIIB, which was proposed by China, is an international financial institution aimed at providing funds for infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

Twenty-one Asian countries willing to join the AIIB as founding members signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing on Oct 24, which specifies the authorized capital of the AIIB will be $100 billion, with the initial capital expected to be around $50 billion.

Indonesia badly needs funds for infrastructure development if it is to raise its economic growth rate from an expected 5.2 to 5.3 percent this year to 7 percent within three years.

When meeting Widodo, Xi noted Indonesia's national strategy of maritime development is similar to that of China.

"President Jokowi's idea of building up a major maritime nation highly matches my proposal of building a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road," Xi said in a news release issued after the meeting.

Xi suggested the two nations deepen their maritime cooperation and also cooperate in areas such as aerospace, infrastructure and security. He also said they can work together to promote regional integration, stability and prosperity, and to protect the interests of developing nations.

Xi said both China and Indonesia are both developing nations and major countries in the region, and they share common interests and shoulder common responsibilities.

Later on Sunday, Premier Li Keqiang told Widodo that Beijing's relations with Jakarta had become one of the "most energetic and influential bilateral ties in the Asia-Pacific region".

Sino-Thai ties boosted

Xi and Li also met Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Sunday.

Li said the agreement in principle Beijing and Bangkok have reached on railway and agricultural products cooperation will give a boost to their cooperation in other areas such as trade, investment and financing.

Beijing appreciates Bangkok's efforts as the coordinator of China-ASEAN relations in the past three years, Li said, adding that China is willing to join hands with Thailand to push forward China's ties with the regional bloc.

Prayuth took office as Thai prime minister in August.

Li said he and Prayuth agreed to implement the agreement and deals previously reached between the two nations when they met on the sidelines of the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting summit in Milan, Italy in October.

Li called for the two countries to make use of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral ties, which falls next year, to transfer the deep spirit of friendship between the two nations into "tangible achievements" to benefit both peoples.

Prayuth said his government highly values relations with China and vowed to firmly implement bilateral cooperation deals and agreements.

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