Smiling Wen earns respect for China at ASEAN-related summits

08:36, October 26, 2009      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was obviously more than delighted that he has been able to earn respect for China among its Asian neighbors at ASEAN-related summits.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has a working lunch with leaders attending the fourth East Asia Summit in the southern Thai resort town of Hua Hin, Oct. 25, 2009. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

"I am sincere and confident," Wen said. With trademark smiles, he has been busy with the diplomacy to advance peace, friendship and cooperation with practicable proposals and concrete pledges at the summits ending Sunday in the Thai beach resort of Hua Hin.

During the three-day visit, Wen met his counterparts from ASEAN(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and India. He witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and ASEAN on the establishment of a China-ASEAN center in Beijing, and two others on cooperation in intellectual property and technological standards.

Wen proposed strengthening regional cooperation among the ASEAN Plus Three dialogue partners to combat the global financial turmoil and the economic downturn, and made a number of pledges to increase China's support for the ASEAN countries, including raising the preferential part of a 15- billion-U.S.-dollar commercial credit by 5 billion dollars to hit 6.7 billion dollars.

Wen demonstrated yet again his perseverance at the bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. The two parties reached consensus on narrowing their differences on border issues through talks.

The premier also earned respect for his efforts to get the interested countries to return to the six-party talks, through shuttle diplomacy that took him to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) earlier this month, in addition to talks with leaders of East Asian countries in Beijing.

Wen, 67, stayed energetic despite the recent visits and meetings one after another. He has met more than 30 heads of state and foreign leaders over the past three weeks.

By coming to Thailand on Friday, Wen realized one of his promises made six months earlier at the end of the disrupted ASEAN-related summits in Pattaya, Thailand.

Wen played a key role in advancing the cooperation between China and ASEAN. He proposed the establishment of China-ASEAN Exposition at a bilateral summit in October 2003. The annual trade fair has become one of the key platforms for bilateral cooperation.

China and ASEAN are set to launch the China-ASEAN free trade area on Jan. 1, 2010. It will cover a population of 1.9 billion and boast a combined gross domestic product close to 6 trillion dollars.

Wen built the respect for China by showing due respect for its southeast Asian neighbors, too.

Countries in East Asia should take a gradual approach for cooperation in the region and China maintains that cooperation should be based upon respect for the diversified and varying levels of development of the countries involved, he said.

Source: Xinhua
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