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China congratulates ASEAN on signing of Charter
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21:25, November 20, 2007

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China on Tuesday congratulated the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the signing of the ASEAN Charter at a regional summit in Singapore.

"The signing of the ASEAN Charter is a landmark during the 40 years since ASEAN was established and a key result of ASEAN community building," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao at a routine briefing.

"We believe that under the Charter, ASEAN will continuously advance its integration through building an ASEAN community, to further peace, progress and prosperity in the region and world," Liu said.

Leaders of the 10 members of ASEAN gathered in Singapore on Tuesday for the grouping's 13th summit, where they signed the Charter, which will transform ASEAN into a more effective, rules-based and rules-bound organization.

Citing ASEAN integration as a "strategic concept" aimed at long-term growth, Liu said that China supports the ASEAN integration process and would like to provide assistance.

ASEAN includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.

The organization has a total population of about 500 million, a total area of 4.5 million square km, and a combined gross domestic product of almost 700 billion U.S. dollars.


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