China supports the 10-member regional group of ASEAN as the key player in a proposed tsunami early warning system in the region, said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Phuket, Thailand on Saturday.
He said the United Nations should continue its leading and coordinate role in the process of establishing such a system, which has been the hot topic in India Ocean and Southeast Asian countries since the tsunami disaster on Dec. 26.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. A number of them, particularly Indonesia and Thailand, have suffered great casualties and property losses in disaster which killed about 280,000 people in total.
Delivering a speech at a ministerial meeting on regional cooperation on tsunami early warning arrangements, Li noted a clear consensus is reached on the establishment of a regional warning system and important initiatives have been proposed following a number of international and regional meetings on the subject.
"It is high time that we put in place an effective regional early warning system and enhance international and regional cooperation in this area," he said.
He hailed the timing of the ministerial meeting, saying the meeting "marks a major and concrete step forward in disaster relief and reconstruction."
The foreign minister highlighted cooperation and coordination as key to an effective tsunami warning system. "It is important to pool resources, identify priorities, and take an incremental approach," he said.
He called on the international community to lose no time in helping developing countries with capacity building in the tsunami-hit region by advancing cooperation and in poverty reduction, infrastructure building, education and training, and human resources development.
The minister said that China supports a proposed regional early warning system and will act as a coordinator in the process of setting up the system.
Attending the two-day meeting are ministers and envoys from 40-odd countries and regions and representatives from 13 international organizations. The meeting is one in a series of international and regional conferences designed to create a tsunami early warning system.