China enhances political trust with East Asian neighborsUpdated: 2013-10-11 19:06
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday concluded a tightly-scheduled visit to Brunei, where he also attended a series of gatherings of the East Asian leaders and proposed a number of new ideas and measures to deepen regional cooperation.
While addressing the 16th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting on Wednesday, Li put forward a seven-point proposal on further promoting China-ASEAN ties, which includes discussing the signing of a treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, beefing up security exchanges and cooperation, and starting talks on upgrading their free trade area.
He also called on the two sides to move faster on inter-connectivity infrastructure, enhance regional financial cooperation and immunity to risks, promote maritime cooperation and rev up exchanges in culture, technology, environmental protection and other areas so as to consolidate the foundation for bilateral friendly cooperation.
These proposals, said Li, are a policy declaration of a new generation of Chinese leadership on the development of China-ASEAN relations over the next 10 years.
China and ASEAN established a strategic partnership 10 years ago. Over the intervening years, China-ASEAN trade has surged from $54.77 billion in 2002 to $400.1 billion in 2012, an annual growth rate of 22 percent.
The new set of initiatives, at a crucial time for China-ASEAN ties, will greatly promote their mutually beneficial cooperation and common development, said Wei Ling, director of East Asian Studies Center at the China Foreign Affairs University.
Southeast Asian leaders also pledged to jointly work with China for greater achievements in the development of their relations over the next decade, according to a joint statement issued at the 16th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting.
In the statement, China reaffirmed that it is committed to consolidating and developing a strategic partnership with ASEAN and resolving differences with relevant ASEAN countries through peaceful means and friendly consultations, it said.
While attending the 16th ASEAN plus three (China, Japan and South Korea) summit, the Chinese premier urged the parties to commit themselves to maintaining regional peace and stability and handling sensitive issues in the area in a proper manner.
He suggested the nations should cooperate to speed up East Asian economic integration and try to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations by 2015.
To advance the construction of a regional financial safety net and promote regional financial stability and economic development, Li called for joint efforts to expand cooperation under the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization mechanism and build Asia's own monetary stabilization system, credit system, and investment and financing system.
The ASEAN plus three mechanism, known as 10+3, was born in the throes of the Asian financial crisis to promote regional economic stability and global economic growth.