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China-ASEAN relations bring bright future for East Asia

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

11-25-2015 17:55 BJT

By Ling Dequan, Researcher, Center for World Affairs Studies, Xinhua News Agency

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Vietnam and Singapore, two important ASEAN member nations, earlier this month. Later on, he attended the APEC summit in Manila, Philippines. Then Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

They represent China's “all-important moves” in its neighborhood for multilateral diplomacy.

"To deepen cooperation”, “focusing on development”, “mutual benefits” and “win-win” are buzzwords for Beijing's shuttle diplomacy. The East Asia cooperation summit enhances regional cooperation, which has been advocated by ASEAN for many years.

This year's series of summits include the 18th China - ASEAN (10 + 1) Summit, 18th ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and Republic of South Korea) (10 + 3) Summit and 10th East Asia Summit.

East Asia remains stable and continues to lead global economic growth. Mechanisms including the 10 + l, 10 + 3 and East Asia Summit have achieved fruitful results with tangible benefits for its people.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will get established on December 31. China-Japan-ROK cooperation is gradually getting back on track.

Such efforts will accelerate regional integration. “Amity, sincerity, mutual benefits and inclusiveness” is a high-level summary of Beijing's neighborhood diplomacy.

Li gave an in-depth introduction to Chinese policies for East Asia cooperation, and proposed pragmatic initiatives to create stable economic growth for East Asia.

Li’s speech at the 10 + 1 summit emphasized: “ASEAN is China's cooperation center and diplomatic priority in East Asia.”

"China and ASEAN are good neighbors connected by land and by sea, offering friendly people-to-people exchanges, and a good partner for common development.”

He said China - ASEAN relations “have gone far beyond the bilateral scope as an important cornerstone for East Asian regional peace, stability and development.”

Summarizing China-ASEAN dialogue relations in the past 24 years, political mutual trust has deepened, while pragmatic cooperation has been fruitful, Li said:

"The AEC will be completed by the end of this year, and China- ASEAN dialogue relations are stepping into its 25th year. Bilateral relations are at a new starting point with new opportunities. ”

The Chinese Premier said AEC will become a “milestone for integration of ASEAN countries to a new level.”

Beijing “firmly supports ASEAN integration, building AEC, and endorses ASEAN’s central position in regional cooperation. ”

He said: “China wishes to join hands with ASEAN countries to enhance cooperation in the economy, trade, culture and other fields, to build prosperity for a better future. " Li expounded on experiences from the past: "Only by enhancing mutual trust, can cooperation get consolidated”;

"Only by integration and development, can common prosperity and win-win cooperation be achieved”; “Only by expanding common interests and seeking common ground, can differences be narrowed. ”

Based on current trends of the world and East Asian economies, "China and ASEAN countries are at a critical period of construction, so to promote their development through deepening 10 + 1 cooperation is the trend," Li said.

"In the next five years, China will seize the rare historic opportunity with the ten ASEAN countries to dock their respective development strategies to enhance overall development of the 11 nations to achieve objectives of the East Asian Economic Community by 2020 and promote lasting peace and prosperity in the region.”

He called for strengthening of the China-ASEAN cooperation mechanism.

He proposed to speed up economic and trade cooperation that boosts China’s "Belt and Road" initiative with developing countries of the region. He suggested to explore international production capacity cooperation, and to work together to upgrade safety levels.

China-ASEAN has broad prospects with rare opportunities. The world economy faces challenges over terrorism. China and ASEAN should safeguard regional peace to promote strong economic growth.

"We wish to live in harmony with ASEAN countries,to promote common prosperity and contribute to world peace and development!”

This is a solemn commitment to the leaders of ASEAN countries made by the Chinese Premier on behalf of the Chinese government.  China-ASEAN negotiations’ concessions on the free trade area (FTA) were signed in the presence of Li and ASEAN leaders.

China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner, and ASEAN, the third to China. The China-ASEAN FTA is China's first and also the largest with foreign trading partners. Ever since its inception in 2010, China-ASEAN has supported stable development of the region.

To boost trade and investment liberalization, Beijing proposed ASEAN FTA negotiations at the 16th China-ASEAN (10 + 1) Summit that began in October 2013. After four rounds of negotiations, the two sides have reached agreement on its "Protocol" during the summit.

The China - ASEAN FTA "Protocol" is the first of its kind based on the existing free trade area, covering areas of trade, service trade, investment, economic and technical cooperation, along with other goods.

It supplements original agreements that reflect the common aspirations and practical needs of both sides to expand trade.

Conducive to fostering a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny, the move could realize the target of scaling up two-way trade to 1 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020 and to promote negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes: “Once the key link is grasped, everything falls into place.”

Beijing holds far-reaching viewpoints, measures, confidence and determination to forge a strategic partnership with ASEAN. “Stand by its word, act to its promise and be resolute in deed.” Such relations would offer a bright future for the entire region in the years ahead.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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