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East Asia cooperation should not be distracted by sea dispute (2)

(People's Daily Online)

10:33, November 24, 2012

The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea has created a peaceful and stable environment for cooperation between China and ASEAN. China is the first country to build strategic partnerships with ASEAN, to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, to support the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and to establish the Free Trade Area with ASEAN.

At present, 12 ministerial-level consultation mechanisms have been established in China-ASEAN cooperation. Taking the China-ASEAN Expo as platform, China and ASEAN have built multi-level cooperation channels in politics, economy, trade, society and culture and focused on cooperation in fields of trade, investment, education, tourism and culture. Now, China is the largest trading partner of ASEAN and ASEAN is China’s third largest trading partner.

ASEAN has significantly enhanced its international status in the past 10 years. The ASEAN Charter was approved in 2007, which indicated that ASEAN became an international organization with legal status and played an increasingly important role in regional affairs. The best example is that the United States and Russia attend East Asia Summit.

Currently, the economic recovery is slowing down globally and the economy of East Asia presents a downturn trend. Therefore, the East Asian countries including China and ASEAN should eliminate the barrier of South China Sea issue and strengthen coordination and cooperation to seek win-win situation and common interests. It is firmly believed that the official launch of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP) will continue to push forward the development of East Asia cooperation.

Source: Beijing News

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