Premier Wen to affirm Chinese commitment to East Asia

08:03, October 28, 2010      

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Premier Wen Jiabao will travel to Hanoi on Thursday, hoping to reaffirm China's commitment to the East Asian cooperation through an upcoming series of leadership summits.

The meetings include the 13th summit between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the 13th summit between ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the fifth East Asia Summit.

He will also attend a summit among leaders of China, Japan and the ROK. Vietnam will chair the meetings as president of ASEAN's rotating presidency.

Nguyen Van Tho, the Vietnamese ambassador to China, said the summit between China and ASEAN is expected to adopt the Leaders' Joint Statement on Sustainable Development, which demonstrates the common desire and responsibility of both sides to promote regional peace, security and prosperity.

The leaders are also expected to adopt an ASEAN-China Plan of Action for the Period of 2011 to 2015 to accelerate the comprehensive cooperation in different fields including security, trade and politics.

The ambassador added that ministers in charge of the economies of ASEAN member states and China are scheduled to sign several important deals to further develop and implement the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area.

He said ASEAN has relations with many dialogue partners including the United States, however, the ASEAN-China cooperation has developed into a strategic partnership and has become one of the most active cooperative ties.

Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Tong Xiaoling echoed Tho's remarks, noting that China and ASEAN nations have signed a number of cooperation agreements in areas such as transportation, water resources management, agriculture, infrastructure and human resources.

"China will continue to increase its investment in these areas and share its experience. It hopes to help the less developed nations in the region," she added.

ASEAN needs to fix its weaknesses before it reaches the ASEAN Community 2015 - a development blueprint - in order to maximize mutual benefit for member countries, said Bantarto Bandoro, senior researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Strategic Studies.

He said that without improvement, 2015 will be the start of an emergence of new problems. "The ASEAN Community 2015 is a platform that should materialize whether each country likes it or not. However, it is not an easy process toward the community. Countries must assure that they have strong infrastructures," said Bandaro.

He said that one of the most important pillars toward the community is the economic community. "The economic community must be strengthened as it would provide the biggest contribution," Bantarto said.

He said that discussing the issue would be one of prioritized agendas as it would be the toughest challenge toward the ASEAN Community.

"Besides, it needs a strong commitment between member countries to materialize the purpose," he said.

According to Bantarto, trade relations between member countries are currently good enough.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

By Qin Jize, China Daily


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