China makes six-point proposal for cooperation with ASEAN

08:59, October 25, 2009      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (6th L) poses for a group photo with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in Hua Hin, Thailand, on Oct. 24, 2009. The 12th ASEAN-China Summit was held in Hua Hin, Thailand on Saturday. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a six-point proposal for strengthening cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in an address to the 12th summit between China and ASEAN in Hua Hin, Thailand Saturday.

Wen said that, thanks to painstaking efforts, the financial situation in China and ASEAN countries had basically remained stable, with the economic situation generally becoming stable and turning for the better, and with trade between the two sides entering a stage of restorative growth.

He said, as a close neighbor and strategic cooperation partner of ASEAN, China would stand with ASEAN through thick and thin, and forge ahead side by side.

The Chinese premier proposed that steps be taken to enhance cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in the following six respects:

First, the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area should be brought into play through publicising laws and regulations on the free-trade area and the professional training of human resources for it, and by assisting enterprises to make good use of its preferential policies, Wen said.

China was willing to hold a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area forum next year and jointly establish a commercial portal website with the ASEAN nations, he said.

Wen also proposed building an economic cooperation zone in the ASEAN nations in a bid to further expand Chinese investment in the region.

The premier called for protection of intellectual property rights, removal of technical trade barriers and establishment of a unified fauna and flora quarantine system.

Second, to accelerate the construction of infrastructure facilities, the two sides should reach an agreement as early as possible on priority projects under the strategic plan of China-ASEAN cooperation in transportation, and also reach an agreement as early as possible on the memorandum of understanding on China-ASEAN customs cooperation, Wen said.

Wen called for early signing of the China-ASEAN regional air traffic agreement as part of the efforts to build a sound regional infrastructure network.

Third, to deepen agricultural and rural cooperation, the two sides should actively promote the program of action on enhancing China-ASEAN grain production capacity and help ASEAN nations raise grain production to higher levels, Wen said.

Fourth, to promote sustainable development, both sides should make efforts to adopt the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Strategy at the earliest possible date to expand cooperation in protection of bio-diversity, environment protection, clean production, environmental industries, new energy and renewable energy, Wen said.

China offered to help train 100 environment officials for ASEAN in the coming three years, he said.

Fifth, to strengthen social and cultural exchanges, China is willing to strengthen cooperation with ASEAN in disease control, culture, education, tourism and combating cross-border crimes. Both sides should make efforts to launch the China-ASEAN center as soon as possible, he said.

Sixth, to further advance regional cooperation at various levels, China supported the process of integration of and leading role for ASEAN in regional cooperation, Wen said.

The premier said China would establish a permanent representative office in ASEAN.

Meanwhile, Wen proposed a Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, and push forward ASEAN-China relations to a new level.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand, on Oct. 24, 2009. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

Leaders of the ASEAN nations praised the considerable progress in the ASEAN-China relations and spoke highly of China's good-neighbor and friendly policies and its commitment to strengthening cooperation with the ASEAN countries.

The leaders agreed that the Chinese side had taken practical actions to support and help the ASEAN countries to overcome difficulties and jointly tackle challenges.

The ASEAN leaders welcomed Premier Wen's proposals for strengthening cooperation. They pledged to maintain political dialogue and deepen mutual trust with China.

The leaders also called for strengthening business ties and people-to-people exchanges. They pledged further efforts to boost exchanges and cooperation in such areas as fiscal policy and finance, disease control and prevention, environment and culture.

Meanwhile, more efforts should be made to push the reform of the international economic and financial system to ensure their mutual rights and interests, said the ASEAN leaders.

The China-ASEAN summit started here Saturday, attended by Wen and leaders from ASEAN's 10 member countries and presided over by Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The Chinese government announced in April it would set up a 10-billion-U.S. dollar "China-ASEAN Fund on Investment Cooperation" to support infrastructure development in the region.

China also plans to offer a credit of 15 billion dollars to ASEAN countries and 270 million yuan (39.5 million U.S. dollars) in special aid to less-developed ASEAN countries.

The funding measures were designed to demonstrate China's commitment to working with ASEAN in meeting current difficulties.

The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, scheduled to be established in2010, will be another milestone in the history of bilateral relationship.  

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