At the top of the program, we head to the Southeast Asian nation of Brunei, where leaders from East Asia and Asian Pacific regions have been gathering to discuss a range of regional and world affairs. On Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended the ASEAN plus three and East Asia summits.
ASEAN meets Northeast Asia...
A powerful and promising gathering of countries accounting for over 40 percent of the world’s total GDP.
And warranted feelings of optimism.. when much of the rest of the world is mired in economic strife, the two regions press on.
"The cooperation between ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea was the result of the Asian financial crisis. And through the international financial crisis, the relations were put into effect for the region’s economic stability. We can say we worked together to overcome difficulties," Li Keqiang said.
But on the political front, all is not well.
Territorial tensions between Japan and neighboring China and South Korea have soared in recent years. Adding fuel to the fire is the Abe administration’s lurch to the far right, to the point where South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Abe ignored each other as they sat side by side at the APEC leaders’ meeting in Bali.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the South China Sea dispute, a new window of opportunity was presented as Premier Li Keqiang broached the idea of setting aside differences for joint development.
Also taking place on Thursday is the East Asia Summit meeting of 18 countries.
In his opening remarks the Sultan of Brunei commended the US and Russia for their recent moves on the Syria issue.
"I would like to commend Russia and the US for their effort in seeking a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis. We are encouraged by Iran’s recent approach on its nuclear energy program and we look forward to further progress on this," Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah said.
On the sidelines of the meetings, Premier Li Keqiang also spoke briefly with the Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. During their talks, Premier Li reiterated China’s stance on the South China Sea issue and urged the Philippine side to properly resolve the 2010 Manila hostage incident involving Hong Kong tourists.