Chinese, ASEAN leaders meet to boost regional cooperation

12:34, October 24, 2009      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states started a regular meeting here Saturday in a bid to boost regional cooperation amid the global financial crisis and to promote common development.

Wen arrived at the central Thai seaside resort Friday evening for a series of meeting related to ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.

China is ASEAN's fourth largest trading and investment partner, with its trade with ASEAN accounting for 10.6 percent of the bloc's total. Its investment in ASEAN member states soared by 125 percent year-on-year to reach 2.18 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.

China and ASEAN are also expected to launch a Free Trade Area (FTA) in 2010, the world's largest FTA in terms of population and the third largest in terms of trade volume.

Source: Xinhua
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