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China, an important driving force in East Asian cooperation: asst. FM


08:20, January 09, 2012

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said on Sunday that China is an active participant and important driving force in cooperation in East Asia.

"China has made important contributions to the development of cooperation in East Asia," Liu said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the situation in Asia and China's diplomatic efforts among neighboring countries.

China is the first major country to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and it takes the lead in completing the establishment of the China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Free Trade Zone, he said.

China has actively promoted the Multilateralization of Chiang Mai Initiative and has been an active participant in the East Asia Emergency Rice Reserve program, he said.

China also worked with other East Asian nations for fruitful cooperation in finance, economics and trade, and food security, he added.

China pushed forward discussion on major strategic issues concerning peace and development in the region during the East Asia Summit and offered strategic advice, he noted.

Liu said East Asian cooperation is currently developing well, with various cooperation mechanisms running side-by-side, practical cooperation recording new progress and people benefiting from these developments.

The successful meetings of East Asian leaders in Bali, Indonesia, last November, underlined the themes of unity, development and cooperation, adhered to such effective mechanisms as "10 plus 1" and "10 plus 3," and insisted that problems between nations be resolved through peaceful consultations, he said.

"China is fully confident in the future of cooperation in East Asia," he said.

Liu said the deep impact of the global financial crisis is still spreading and countries in the region face increasing risks of an economic downturn. While problems left by history remain unresolved among some East Asian nations, they also face more non-traditional security threats.

A diversified East Asia is also undergoing complicated transformation in its regional cooperation framework, he noted.

"Under such circumstances, China believes that while remaining open and inclusive, East Asian cooperation should also stick to the preset directions of its various mechanisms, adhere to the principles and models that have been proven effective, and insist that the ASEAN should take the leading role in the process," Liu said.

He proposed that East Asian cooperation should give full play to regional nations' initiatives and zeal, and adhere to the cooperation framework with "10 plus 1" as its basis, "10 plus 3" as the main body and the East Asia Summit as an important complementary mechanism.

In the meantime, East Asian countries should also stick to the theme of development, cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win resolutions, so as to push forward relevant cooperation step-by-step and work together to realize regional peace, stability and prosperity, he suggested.


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