China reiterates commitment to amicable, tranquil, prosperous neighborhood policy

10:12, May 01, 2011      

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Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday reiterated China's commitment to its policy of securing an amicable, tranquil and prosperous neighborhood in dealing with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In a speech delivered at Balai Kartini on the last day of his two-day official visit to Indonesia, the current chair of ASEAN, Wen said China will stick to the policy, to which he stated China's commitment at the 7th China-ASEAN summit held in Bali in 2003.

"China will remain committed to this policy no matter what changes may take place in the international landscape," he said.

"China firmly supports ASEAN'S leading role in regional cooperation," he said, adding that the existing regional cooperation mechanism in East Asia should always develop with ASEAN in the driver's seat.

China was steadfast in holding that "East Asian cooperation will enjoy sound development only if ASEAN continues to play its leading role," he said.

"China is committed to deepening practical cooperation with ASEAN," Wen said.

"Last year, China became ASEAN's biggest trading partner. We launched the largest FTA among developing countries and we have set the target of 500 billion U.S. dollars in two-way trade by 2015," he said.

The premier said China would speed up land transport connectivity between China and ASEAN and provide financial support to road, rail, communication, electricity and other infrastructure development in ASEAN countries.

China would also, in light of ASEAN's needs, increase input into maritime and air connectivity and promote facilitation and standardization of related areas in a bid to create better conditions for the free flow of goods, capital and information, people-to-people exchanges, and economic and social development in the region, he said.

"China will actively promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges with ASEAN countries," Wen said, calling on the two sides "to further tap the potential of cooperation in education and tourism, and encourage more two-way flows of students and tourists."

The two sides have drawn up a plan to increase the numbers of Chinese students in ASEAN countries and ASEAN students in China to 100,000 respectively by 2020. At the China-ASEAN Summit last year, a target was announced to have 15 million mutual visits between the two sides by 2015.

"China will continue to assist the less developed countries in ASEAN with no conditions attached," he said.

China has learned from its own development that to shake off poverty and backwardness once and for all, a country must rely on well-trained professionals and science and technology, he said.

Therefore, "the Chinese government will increase input in capacity-building and human resources training to help the less developed ASEAN members gain faster progress toward their development goals," he added.

"China stands ready to work with ASEAN to maintain regional security and stability," he said, noting that China wants to work more closely with ASEAN to tackle such non-traditional security threats as terrorism, transnational crimes, natural disasters and communicable diseases, and foster a peaceful and harmonious social environment.

"China supports efforts to steadily push forward East Asian cooperation and maintain its openness," Wen said.

China welcomes all proposals that are conducive to regional stability and development and supports the participation of the United States, Russia, the European Union and other countries and organizations in the East Asian cooperation process, he said, noting that the independence and diversity of East Asia must be respected.

Wen emphasized that in advancing East Asian cooperation, a step-by-step approach must be followed.

The priority now is to bring into full play the role of the existing cooperation frameworks, including 10 plus 1 (ASEAN plus China), 10 plus 3 (ASEAN plus China, South Korea and Japan), and China, Japan and South Korea, and at the same time explore other cooperation models consistent with the characteristics of the region, he said.

Also on Saturday, the Chinese premier met with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, with both sides pledging to enhance bilateral cooperation and ties.

ASEAN is comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei,Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

Source: Xinhua

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