Premier Li Keqiang Raises Five Proposals on Further Strengthening China-ASEAN Cooperation

On the morning of Sep. 3, 2013, the tenth China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit opened at Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center in Nanning, Guangxi. Premier Li Keqiang attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech.

Li Keqiang in his speech said that China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and make positive contributions to the prosperity and stability of this region and the world. Neighboring areas have always been the focus and top priority of China's diplomacy. China's new government will more unswervingly uphold the foreign policy of friendship and partnership with neighboring countries, more actively realize the conjunction between Chinese development strategies and the development goals of neighboring countries, and more firmly and effectively build a community of common destiny to share peace and prosperity.

Li Keqiang pointed out that there exist some disruptive factors in the region that are against stability and development, but they are not mainstreams. Regarding South China Sea disputes, China has always firmly held that the immediate disputing parties should seek sound solutions through friendly negotiations on the basis of respecting historical facts and international laws. The Chinese government is one of accountability, and is willing to seek sound solutions through friendly negotiations. China's good-neighborly policy toward the ASEAN is not a matter of expediency, but a long-term strategic option of China. China will firmly prioritize ASEAN member countries in the country's peripheral diplomacy. To help China is to help the ASEAN countries and the vice versa in order to jointly push forward bilateral long-term strategic partnership of friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation to a new high.

Li Keqiang expressed that the international situation continues to undergo complex and profound changes at present and the world economy is in in-depth adjustment. Asian countries should adhere to the guideline of giving priority to the economies, development and people's well-being. We should focus our attention to those three aspects. To keep advocating the spirit of unity and cooperation, as well as helping each other, to join hands to deal with risks and challenges, and to strive to keep the economy running smoothly and healthily.

Li Keqiang noted that China and the ASEAN have achieved significant progress in cooperation. The two sides have witnessed a golden decade of China-ASEAN cooperation. The economic connection between China and the ASEAN has never been so close and interdependent as today. As cooperative partners by nature, both sides should inherit the past and usher in the future to promote the advancement of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership and to create a new "diamond decade".

Li Keqiang raised five proposals on further strengthening China-ASEAN cooperation. The first is to create an upgraded version of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. Both sides should further lower tariff rates, cut non-tariff-related measures, launch dialogues for a new round of service trade pledge, push forward the actual opening-up for investment, strive to expand bilateral trade volume to one trillion U.S. dollars by 2020, increase bilateral investment by 150 billion dollars during the next eight years. The second is to boost mutual connectivity in areas such as roads, railways, water transport, aviation, telecommunication and energy. China will initiate a new round of targeted loans, give full play to the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund, work actively with various sides to establish a financing platform in Asia, in order to promote the building of an infrastructure-connected Asia. The third is to boost financial cooperation. The Chinese side is willing to continue to work with the ASEAN members to strengthen multi-layer regional financial security network, improve early-warning and bail-out mechanisms on regional financial risks. By joining hands and helping each other, China and the ASEAN are sure to be able to maintain the steady economic growth and economic and financial stability in the region. The fourth is to carry out maritime cooperation. The Chinese side proposes to set up "China-ASEAN maritime partnership". The fifth is to promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The Chinese side initiates to set the year 2014 as "China-ASEAN Friendly Exchange Year".

President U Thein Sein of Myanmar, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and ASEAN's Secretary-General Le Luong Minh attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches respectively. After the speeches, Li Keqiang and the leaders of the ASEAN countries jointly planted the rice seeds and irrigated with the "Water of Cooperation". About 1,100 representatives from the business communities and government departments of China, ASEAN, ASEAN Secretariat, as well as other countries (regions) were present at the Summit.

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