China-ASEAN cooperation to promote economic growth, prosperity

10:24, July 24, 2011      

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The series of ASEAN foreign ministers' meetings concluded on Saturday in Bali, Indonesia, with a strong impression for attendees that the China- ASEAN cooperation would promote the economic growth and prosperity in the region.

"Further development of China-ASEAN relations is conducive to the east Asian region's stability and economic prosperity," ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan told Xinhua on Thursday.

He said both China and ASEAN were important economies in Asia, adding "ASEAN hopes to participate in China's rapid economic development, and play a role in the supply chain for the development."

His view was echoed by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on the same day, as the foreign minister said that the development of cooperation between China and ASEAN was conducive for the stability and peace of the region, as both sides could benefit from their strategic partnership.

China has become the largest trade partner of ASEAN, while ASEAN replaced Japan as the third largest partner of China since this April. The trade value between two sides has grown from 7.9 billion U.S. dollars to 292.8 billion dollars last year, soaring by more than 30 times. In the first five months in 2011, the bilateral trade value between them reached 140.8 billion dollars, up 26 percent.

"In the past decades, Asia-Pacific region maintained peace and stability, as regional economy has been growing fast and regional cooperation has been booming," said Yang Jiechi, Chinese foreign minister at the just-concluded 18th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Foreign Ministers' Meeting held here Saturday. He said that developing economy and improving people's livelihoods still top the agenda of the Asia-Pacific region.

China will stick to the road of peaceful development, follow the opening-up strategy based on mutual benefit and work with other Asia-Pacific countries to create a peaceful, stable, equal and win-win situation, Yang added.

All Asian countries are facing common responsibilities as promoting the process of regional economic integration and maintaining the momentum of Asian economic growth and vitality. Yang said that China and the ASEAN, as strategic partners, should continue putting the priority on maintaining regional peace and stability, boosting common prosperity, and strengthening cooperation in such areas as agriculture, environmental protection, disaster relief, public health as well as people-to-people cultural exchanges.

ASEAN Connectivity is a program that ASEAN is currently striving to implement. The participants of the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting said, in their joint communique released on July 19, that ASEAN Connectivity would promote economic growth, narrow development gap, ASEAN integration and Community building process, enhance the competitiveness of ASEAN and promote deeper social and cultural understanding as well as greater people mobility, connect its Member States within the region and with the rest of the world.

The cooperation between China and the ASEAN plays an important role in implementing the ASEAN Connectivity. The ASEAN foreign ministers said in the joint communiqu, "We look forward to the launching of the ASEAN-China Center later this year in Beijing and expressed our commitment to utilize the center to enhance the ASEAN-China strategic for the mutual benefits on economic cooperation, socio-cultural cooperation and people-to-people contact. "

They also appreciated China's strong support to the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) through the establishment of the ASEAN-China Investment Cooperation Fund and looked forward to utilizing the Fund to the implementation of MPAC, according to the communique.

Besides, the joint communique said that ASEAN foreign ministers are encouraged by the keen interest of ASEAN Dialogue Partners to pursue cooperation and partnerships with respect to the implementation of the MPAC.

They will continue consultations and discussions with dialogue and external partners to enhance connectivity within the region and beyond, said the communique.

At the China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting, Yang said this year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China- ASEAN dialogue relationship and in the past 20 years, the two sides have established strategic partnership and set up the largest free trade area among developing countries. He said China and ASEAN have both become a new engine for the world's economic development and China will continue dealing with the bilateral relationship from the strategic and long-term perspective.

China will always be a good neighbor, good friend and good partner of ASEAN, Yang said. He also proposed to uphold high-level exchanges, promote China-ASEAN strategic partnership, settle problems and differences through friendly consultation, maintain the healthy development of China-ASEAN cooperation and safeguard regional peace and stability.

He said China will implement the second China-ASEAN Five-Year Action Plan and try to bring the bilateral trade volumes to 500 billion U.S. dollars.

China will also actively discuss maritime connectivity with ASEAN and promote bilateral exchanges in such sectors as tourism, education, culture and media as well as between youths through establishing China-ASEAN center, Yang said.

Source: Xinhua
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