China sends strong signal of cooperation, unity at EAS: expert

08:18, November 01, 2010      

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China has sent a strong signal that it would boost regional peace, stability and development in the spirit of cooperation and unity at the fifth East Asia Summit, said Qin Yaqing, deputy director of the Chinese Foreign Affairs University, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Beijing on Sunday.

"The most impressive part of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's attending the series of summits is the increasing number of bilateral diplomatic dialogues, all of which are quite significant, such as his meeting with Indian and Vietnamese leaders," Qin said

Qin notedd, while meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Wen told his counterpart the world is large enough for both China and India to develop. His words carried a lot of weight and proved to the world that there was no fundamental conflict of interests for China and India to grow and prosper at the same time.

Additionally, while meeting with General-Secretary of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party Nong Duc Manh and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Wen called for proper handling of the South China Sea issue.

He suggested the two sides draw experiences from the successful demarcation of their land boarder and solve the disputes on the South China Sea issue through negotiations.

Qin said Wen's talks with Vietnamese leaders reaffirmed China's position on solving the issue through dialogue and consultation without resorting to the threat of force, which was intended to have a demonstrative effect to other countries concerned.

In his remarks between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the 13th summit, Premier Wen also said cooperation between China and the ASEAN nations is "most pragmatic, most extensive and most fruitful."

Commenting on Wen's words, Qin said links between China and the ASEAN nations have seen a rather fast-paced development, especially in economy and trade, which is seen as quite extraordinary.

"It is unthinkable that the trade volume could rise from several billion U.S. dollars in 1991 to over 200 billion this year in such a short time. And this kind of pragmatic cooperation has lifted the Eastern Asian economies out of the shadow of the financial crisis," he added.

China and the ASEAN countries established "a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity" in 2003, and the two sides also inaugurated their free trade zone early this year.

The establishment of the free trade zone has helped to boost trade relations between the two sides.

According to the official Chinese data, the first nine months of this year has brought the total bilateral trade volume to 211.31 billion U.S. dollars, a 43.7 percent spike compared to the same period last year.

Qin also said China has generated trade deficits with the ASEAN nations in recent years, which has displayed China's principle of "taking less and giving more."

In Qin's mind, these achievements have not only dispelled the concerns of certain ASEAN nations, but also benefited their development.

China's increasing amount of investment in the region has also, on the one hand, created large numbers of jobs, and on the other hand, contributed greatly to their social and political stability, he said.

He added that according to a number of Premier Wen's statements during the past two days, China would further enhance such strong ties while taking into account the needs of the ASEAN members.

However, the strained China-Japan relations suffered further setbacks during the ASEAN-related summits as the Japanese made untrue statements about the content of a meeting between Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers, which ruined the atmosphere for leaders and prevented the two sides from holding talks in the Vietnamese capital.

Qin also said some Japanese politicians continued to make irresponsible remarks, violating China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and pushing bilateral ties into a predicament.

To put China-Japan ties back on the right track, Japan should face up to its history and take effective measures to remove this obstacle in bilateral relations, said Qin.

He said a healthy and stable Sino-Japanese tie was in accordance with the common aspirations of the two peoples, while the tension between the two countries would cast a negative influence on the entire region.

Also at the summit, the 10-member ASEAN group announced its decision on Friday to formally invite leaders of Russia and the United States to participate in the annual East Asia Summit (EAS) beginning in 2011, which increased the EAS participants to 18 countries.

The next EAS will draw leaders from ten ASEAN members and eight dialogue partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.

Qin said, as a strategic forum "led by leaders," the EAS was an open platform for vital world powers to push forward regional peace and development.

The ASEAN-related summits included a number of different dialogue mechanisms, such as the summit between China and ASEAN (10+1), the summit between ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) and the summit of China, Japan and South Korea.

The next key issue for ASEAN is continuing to coordinate the various existing mechanisms and give full play to their roles.

China has always supported the integration process of ASEAN and the leadership of the bloc in the regional cooperation of East Asia, he added.

Speaking of U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton's East Asia policy speech which stressed American leadership in the region, Qin said the remarks confirmed that the United States would definitely make a "comeback" in Asia.

"China has always upheld an open regional policy and welcome the United States to be a part of regional issues by showing a positive attitude," he said, adding "This would benefit regional peace, stability and development."

"Despite that, China also has to be fully prepared for some potential negativities," he said.



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