Li's Myanmar tour to open new chapter in China-ASEAN ties
BEIJING - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will attend a series of leaders' meeting on East Asia cooperation from Wednesday to Friday in Myanmar and pay a visit to the country, in a tour expected to open a new chapter in the development of China-ASEAN relations.
As this year marks the start of a "Diamond Decade" for cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Li's tour is expected to promote regional cooperation in East Asia and contribute to safeguarding regional peace and stability and advancing China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
NEW PHASE FOR CHINA-ASEAN COOPERATION
Both China and ASEAN have labelled the past ten years as a "Golden Decade" for their relations and have coined the term "Diamond Decade" for the next 10 years, which they hope will feature upgrading of bilateral relations and more practical cooperation.
In October 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Indonesia and Malaysia and Premier Li visited Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam. Such intensive visits to the same region by Chinese leaders highlighted the importance China attaches to ASEAN and enabled the China-ASEAN relations to enter into a new phase.
Shortly after the two leaders returned home following the South East Asia visits, China held its first symposium on diplomacy with neighboring regions, in which diplomacy with neighboring regions was promoted to an unprecedentedly high level, Jiang Ruiping, deputy director of China Foreign Affairs University, said, adding that ASEAN is a priority in China's diplomacy with neighboring regions.
Since last year, China has put forward a series of important proposals such as building a community of shared destiny with ASEAN countries and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, as well as establishing "an upgraded version" of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and the "2+7 (two political consensuses and seven areas of cooperation) cooperation framework," which has drawn positive response from ASEAN countries.
China's latest initiative to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has earned extensive support and 21 Asian countries have inked a Memorandum of Understanding on establishing the multilateral lender headquartered in Beijing with an expected initial subscribed capital of 50 billion U.S. dollars.
China and ASEAN have seen steady growth in bilateral trade, with expansion of two-day investment and deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation.
China-ASEAN trade reached 443.6 billion dollars in 2013, up 11 percent from the previous year and hit 346.4 billion dollars from January to September 2014, up 7.5 percent from the same period of last year.
By the end of September, mutual investment had reached 123.1 billion dollars. China and ASEAN have cooperated on a variety of projects in electric power generation, bridge construction, agriculture and manufacturing.
The China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund established by China has promoted the economic development of ASEAN countries and benefited the local population.