Premier Wen Jiabao's role key in ASEAN talks

Premier Wen Jiabao's participation in meetings of leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK), has the potential to inject new vitality into the already booming economic and trade relations between China and the region.

Wen met with these leaders in the summit between ASEAN, China, Japan, and the ROK, which has been known as the 10+3 group, as well as the summit between the ASEAN and China, known as 10+1, held in Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday and Wednesday. He also took part in the fifth summit meeting between leaders of China, Japan, and the ROK.

During the meetings, Wen put forward some concrete proposals on the deepening of regional economic co-operation, such as exploring the feasibility for establishing a free trade region, and pushing for co-operation in the financial and investment realms. He also discussed security and non-traditional security co-operation.

The 10+3 and 10+1 summit meetings have already become a regular mechanism for China and ASEAN members to discuss issues of common concern and are significant events for the region.

Since first being established in 1997, the mechanism has gradually matured from an original incohesive regional forum to an important platform to eliminate differences, build mutual trust, and strengthen economic co-operation between players.

China has always attached importance to its co-operation with ASEAN members, and follows a consistent policy of establishing friendly and good relations with its neighbours.

The policy has also produced fruitful achievements, with statistics showing that trade volume between China and ASEAN members maintaining an annual growth rate of 15 per cent since 1995. That's when the first China-ASEAN senior officials' consultations at the vice foreign ministers' level were held in Hangzhou, China.

Trade volume between the two economies is expected to exceed US$70 billion this year.

ASEAN has become China's fifth largest trade partner, while the latter serves as the former's sixth largest trading partner.

The increasingly close ties between China and ASEAN and the fruitful results of the mechanism are an inevitable result of the East Asian regional co-operation and fundamental demand.

The fruit-bearing mechanism also demonstrates that the development of a country does not pose as a threat to others.

The regional countries can completely realize a common prosperity if correct and effective means are found and utilized.



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