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China, ASEAN possess great potential in bilateral, regional cooperation: Chinese FM

(Xinhua)

08:02, August 14, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- China sees great potential in future cooperation with ASEAN countries and ASEAN as a whole in areas such as trade, investment and regional stability, Foreign Minister of China Yang Jiechi said on Monday.

Yang, who concluded his official visit to Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia on Monday, told Xinhua in an interview that Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of relations with Southeast Asian countries.

"Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia are all friendly neighbors of China and members of ASEAN, ASEAN 10+3, East Asia Summit and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)," he said.

"The purpose of my visit is to strengthen strategic communication, broaden pragmatic cooperation and boost bilateral ties with the three countries, as well as further develop relations between China and ASEAN, when the global and regional situations are experiencing profound and complicated changes."

In Indonesia, Yang held talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to discuss deepening the all-round strategic cooperation between the two countries and co-chaired with his Indonesia counterpart Marty Natalegawa the second meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation.

In Brunei, Yang met Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah and Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lim Jock Seng on further development of bilateral ties.

He then met Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and held bilateral talk with the Foreign Minister Anifah Aman in Sabah state of East Malaysia, when both sides agreed to boost bilateral ties and regional cooperation.

"During my visit, I felt the strong willingness of the three governments to boost cooperation with China," Yang said. "I am confident there are much we can do in mutual beneficial cooperation."

The bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia is likely to reach 100 billion U.S. dollars this year, while China has become Indonesia's second largest export market as well as a major trading partner of Brunei, he said.

On the relations with ASEAN as a whole, Yang said significant improvements have been achieved by the cooperation between China and ASEAN since the two sides forged dialogue partnership more than two decades ago.

In addition to better political relations and closer economic ties, China and ASEAN have set up the largest free trade zone among developing countries, boosted cultural exchange and together coped with two financial crises, a series of natural disasters and cross-border epidemics.

"Leaders of Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia have paid tribute to China-ASEAN relations in maintaining regional stability and facilitating growth during my visit," Yang said.

China would continue its support to ASEAN integration on the basis of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit, as well as a major role played by ASEAN in East Asian cooperation. "China is willing to join hand with ASEAN countries for the greater development of China-ASEAN relations," Yang said.
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