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|Thursday, November 01, 2001, updated at 22:02(GMT+8)|
FM Spokesman on Sino-ASEAN Free Trade Zone and "10+3", "10+1" MeetingsTo build up a free trade zone between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and to realize a leap forward in Sino-ASEAN economic relations would be in the interests of both sides, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Thursday in Beijing.
At a press conference, spokesman Zhu Bangzao said that the two sides need to cooperate more than ever before under the current world economic situation.
He said Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji proposed the setting up of an expert team on Sino-ASEAN economic cooperation at the summit between ASEAN and China (ASEAN plus One Summit) last year to study the impact of China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the possibility of building a Sino-ASEAN free trade zone.
The expert team has now completed a study report and put forward proposals for the establishment of the Sino-ASEAN free trade zone, he said. The report, already approved by the Sino-ASEAN senior economic officials meeting, will be submitted to this year's summit for the leaders to make a decision, the spokesman said.
Spokesman on "10+3", "10+1" MeetingsChina hopes the 5th leaders meeting between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea ("10+3"), and the 5th leaders meeting between ASEAN and China ("10+1") will help further the friendly cooperation between China and the ASEAN, and contribute to the prosperity and development of the east Asia region.
Zhu said that the "10+3" is the first meeting for the leaders of the countries involved in the 21st century. Currently, the world economic growth is slowing down and the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11 has brought difficulties to political and economic development worldwide. The recovering Asian economy, in the meantime, also faces new problems.
The summit, under such circumstances, is of great significance for the leaders to exchange views on reinforcing unity, deepening cooperation, coping with crises and joining efforts for common development, Zhu added.
The meeting, with the theme of "building up closer partnerships in the east Asia region," will see participants discussing the report by the expert team on the prospects of east Asia and raise proposals on enhancing cooperation.
Zhu said that the Chinese side will focus on the prospects of the east Asian countries' cooperation in the new century. China believes that the Summit participants, based on economic cooperation, should continue observing the principle of coordination, to gradually carry out dialogue and cooperation in the political and security fields. The summit should start with dialogue on the unconventional security field.
On the "10+1", Zhu said that the Chinese and the ASEAN leaders will exchange views on future cooperation. China will reiterate its policy on the ASEAN issues, and talk about the opportunities for the ASEAN brought by China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
China will also raise proposals on promoting wide-range cooperation between the two sides. Zhu added.
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