Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, October 09, 2003

ASEAN, China forge strategic partnership

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China agreed on Wednesday to establish "a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity," in a bid to further strengthen their cooperation in the 21st century.


ASEAN, China forge strategic partnership
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China agreed on Wednesday to establish "a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity," in a bid to further strengthen their cooperation in the 21st century.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders of the ten-member ASEAN signed a joint declaration after their meeting.

"In today's world that is undergoing complex and profound changes, the enhanced cooperation between ASEAN and China, as two important partners in the Asia-Pacific region, will serve the immediate and long term interests of both sides and is conducive to peace and prosperity in the region," the declaration said.

"To this end, we agree that ASEAN and China establish 'a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity.'"

The purpose of the establishment of a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity is "to foster friendly relations, mutually beneficial cooperation and good neighborliness" between ASEAN and China by deepening and expanding ASEAN-China cooperative relations in a comprehensive manner in the 21st century, it declared.

The strategic partnership is a comprehensive and forward-looking cooperation focusing on politics, economy, social affairs,security and international and regional affairs.

To achieve this end, both sides will strengthen high-level exchanges and contacts, consolidate and deepen understanding and friendship among the peoples of ASEAN and China and give fuller and more effective play to the role of dialogue and consultation mechanism at different levels.

They also agree to continue consultation on China's intention to accede to the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.

Regarding economic cooperation, China and ASEAN will give full play to the respective strength of their markets and maintain the rapidly growing momentum of their economic relations and trade in order to achieve the goal of 100 billion US dollars of two-way annual trade by 2005.

Both sides agree to speed up their talks on the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement, which has become a key pillar in ASEAN-China economic cooperation, and deepen cooperation in key areas, such as agriculture, information and telecommunications, human resources development, two-way investment and the Mekong River Basin development,

In social cooperation, they will implement the consensus of the Special ASEAN-China Leaders' Meeting on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which was held in April 2003, and further activate exchanges in science and technology, environment, education, and culture as well as personnel exchange, and improve cooperation mechanisms in these areas.

Joint efforts will be made in security cooperation by expediting the implementation of the Joint Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Non-Traditional Security Issues and by holding ASEAN-China security related dialogue to enhance mutual understanding and promote peace and security in the region.

They also agree, in the declaration, to boost their cooperate on major regional and international issues for the maintenance of regional peace and stability,

While maintaining close coordination and cooperation within the framework of the ASEAN Regional Forum and promoting its healthy development, they will make the ASEAN+3 mechanism as the main channel to move forward cooperation and regional economic integration in East Asia and Asia as a whole so as to promote sustainable development and common prosperity there, said the declaration.

Premier's Bali trip raises China-ASEAN ties to new level: FM
Premier Wen Jiabao's summit meetings with Asian leaders have brought China-ASEAN relations to a higher level and given an impetus to China's cooperation with Japan and South Korea, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said Wednesday in Bali.

Talking to reporters after the premier concluded his series of summits here, Li said Wen's 44-hour Bali trip scored the following major achievements:

First, a strategic partnership was established between China and ASEAN. By signing the document on strategic partnership for peace and prosperity between the two sides, China has become the first strategic partner of ASEAN, Li said, adding ASEAN is also the first regional grouping with which China has forged such a partnership.

Second, China has formally acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia. China's participation in the treaty is a positive development in maintaining good relations with its neighbors and is also conducive to the regional peace and stability, the foreign minister said.

Third, China has given an impetus to the reaching of the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation among China,Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Initiated by China and signed by Premier Wen Jiabao along with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Roh Moo-hyun, the document is the first on tripartite cooperation among China, Japan and ROK, and will give a major impetus to their cooperation, Li said.

Fourth, The Chinese premier outlined the guidelines for cooperation between ASEAN and China, Japan and ROK(10+3). The principles of equality and consultations, mutual benefit and win-win for all, gradual process and openness and inclusiveness, which he set forth, is of profound significance for the 10+3 cooperation and the cooperation in East Asia as a whole.

Fifth, China made a series of concrete proposals on cooperation and signed some documents to flesh up the cooperation in five major fields which showed the sincere wish of the Chinese side to enhance the regional cooperation.

All these initiatives and proposals received favorable response from leaders of the region and increased the understanding of and trust in China from its neighbors, Li Zhaoxing concluded.

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