Wen calls for 'harmonious E.Asia'

By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-15 06:51

CEBU, THE PHILIPPINES: Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday called for the countries of ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to work together to build a "harmonious East Asia of peace and prosperity".

Wen made the call at the summit of ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK (10+3 Summit), which took place on the sidelines of the 12th ASEAN Summit.

Describing cooperation between the members of the 10+3 as "focused and substantive", Wen said the mechanism had become a key force in promoting cooperation among the countries of East Asia.

"We should closely follow the trend of our times, namely peace and development and work together to build a harmonious East Asia that features political mutual trust and harmonious coexistence, mutual economic benefit, mutual assistance and solidarity in security and mutual cultural enrichment," the premier said.

Wen said member countries should work more closely together on strategic planning for the partnership; increase economic, trade and financial cooperation; and collaborate on security, social, cultural and health issues.

"Given the different stages and levels of development of countries in East Asia, we should vigorously promote cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit, advance regional economic integration, narrow the development gap and accelerate common development," he said.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the 10+3 mechanism. The grouping is expected to issue its second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation to guide future East Asia cooperation at the 10+3 Summit to be held at the end of the year. The first such document was adopted at the third 10+3 Summit, which took place in Manila in 1999.

Wen called for the process of establishing free trade between ASEAN and China, Japan and the ROK to be accelerated.

He also called for speeding up the creation of an Asian Bond Market and the establishment of a regional investment and credit guarantee mechanism.

He urged member countries to improve the region's financing and investment environment and to enhance financial risk management.

The premier said China would host a 10+3 symposium on corporate bond markets this year to strengthen East Asia's financial market and to share experience on developing a bond market.

Wen said the 13 nations of 10+3 should do more to fight terrorism and trans-national crime and to prepare for severe natural disasters, which he described as "threats we all face".

China is ready to host a workshop on deploying the armed forces for international disaster relief this year to facilitate military exchanges in connection with disaster response and relief, he added.

Describing "poverty alleviation and women affairs" as new areas for 10+3 cooperation, Wen said China would hold training courses this year for officials working on these issues.

Meanwhile, China has proposed that a regional disease monitoring network be set up to help East Asia do more to prevent and control diseases and to respond to public health emergencies, he said.

"China remains committed to East Asia cooperation and will work with other countries to promote peace and development and build a harmonious East Asia of peace and prosperity," Wen said.

(China Daily 01/15/2007 page6)

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