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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations' serial meetings in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh provide a good opportunity to deepen mutual understanding and trust in an era of crisis and uncertainties.
The East Asian nations have broad common interests in deepening cooperation and maintaining development. The past 10 years have witnessed deepening cooperative development as well as China's integration into regional collaborations.
China first set up the free-trade zone with ASEAN. After that, Japan and the Republic of Korea signed free-trade agreements with ASEAN.
China has been the largest trading partner of ASEAN since 2010, and ASEAN is the third-largest of China. The bilateral trade volume increased sixfold in 10 years.
China has also actively promoted the 10+1 (ASEAN plus China) and 10+3 (ASEAN plus China, Japan and ROK) cooperation mechanisms. The foreign exchange reserve under the 10+3 framework is established, and its scale now has hit $240 billion. Besides, the proposals and negotiations of that Asian bond market and the East Asia Emergency Rice Reserve have also achieved great progress.
It is far more difficult to build an integrated zone like the EU in East Asia, given the remarkable disparities among the countries and regions. So China has tried its best to promote regional cooperation of various levels and in a number of fields.
China strongly upholds the diplomatic principles of the friendly neighborhood and firmly believes that all countries are equal. China set up the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund of $10 billion and offered $25 billion loans to ASEAN. China has also strengthened its support for ASEAN to help it overcome the international financial crisis and solve a number of global problems with natural-disaster relief and infectious-disease control and prevention.
The practical situation of the region determines regional cooperation is the only feasible choice, if the countries and regions in the area would like to realize their common interests and long-term prosperity, which is also of vital importance to the world economic recovery.
Translated by Li Yang from People's Daily