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|Wednesday, November 07, 2001, updated at 14:50(GMT+8)|
Roundup: Expand Cooperation, Promote Development
Zhu Rongji, premier of the Chinese State Council, together with leaders of various countries attending the (10+3) meeting, centering around the theme of establishing closer East Asian partnership, had an in-depth exchange of views on devoting main efforts to strengthening East Asian pragmatic cooperation in various fields. At the China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders' Conference, Premier Zhu Rongji and the attending ASEAN leaders clearly defined five main cooperative areas and set the target for the establishment of a China-ASEAN free trade zone. This is a major event of promoting the long-term development of China-ASEAN relations.
With humankind stepping into the new century, science and technology are progressing at high speed and economic globalization is being continually accelerated, strengthening regional cooperation has become the common view of various East Asian countries on effectively coping with the complicated and changeable international environment and meeting various kinds of challenges in the economic, social and security realms, it is also an important condition for realizing social stability and economic development.
Premier Zhu expounded China's stand on actively advancing East Asian cooperation and explained China's views on the future development orientation of East Asian cooperation and set forth five-point proposals for East-Asian development: First, clearly setting the target and the development direction, devoting major efforts to perfecting the framework of cooperation in regional trade and investment, boosting mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of finance, science and technology, information and environmental protection, seeking greater integration and common development in the region's economy. Second, promoting (10+3) and (10+1) coordinated development, so as to gradually form a pattern of mutual complementariness and mutual promotion. Third, continuing to push forward cooperation in the financial field. Fourth, extensively developing exchanges among various social circles. And fifth, carrying out dialogs and cooperation in the non-traditional security field. Leaders of various countries unanimously agreed that the potential of East-Asian cooperation is tremendous and the prospect is broad. Under the present situation, it is necessary to further promote exchange and cooperation in the fields of economy, information technology, environmental protection, the development of the Mekong River valley as well as non-traditional security, and meet various challenges facing us. It is the consensus reached by various countries on the need to make common efforts to safeguard the stability, development and prosperity of East Asia, so as to bring benefits to the people of various East Asian countries.
The China ASEAN (10+1) cooperative relationship is advancing toward a more stable and mature stage. Mutual trust between the two sides is constantly increasing, while differences are gradually decreasing, cooperation has notably strengthened. It can be said that bilateral relationship has entered the express traffic lane of all-round, healthy development. At the present (10+1) Leaders' Meeting, Zhu Rongji spoke highly of the remarkable progress achieved in the cooperation between China and the ASEAN nations over the past year, he also put forward an important proposal for the two sides to further deepen cooperation and effectively cope with various risks and challenges under the new situation, including taking as key areas of near-term cooperation in the development of agriculture, information communication and human resources, mutual investment and development of the Mekong River; to set the target of establishing a China-ASEAN free trade zone; and further strengthen bilateral political dialog and cooperation, enhance mutual understanding and trust; on the existing basis, expand new cooperative projects, etc. In a friendly and pragmatic atmosphere, Zhu Rongji and leaders of various ASEAN nations attending the meeting, had an in-depth exchange of opinions on further strengthening neighborly, mutual trust partnership in the new century, they reached a consensus on all the issues mentioned above.
ASEAN leaders highly appraised China's important contributions made in strengthening neighborly, friendly, mutually beneficial cooperation with ASEAN nations, and welcomed the arrangements made by the Chinese side for providing special tariffs for the three least developed countries of Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia and thanked China for its contribution of US$5 million used for dredging the Mekong River for navigation. ASEAN welcomed China's participation in the proposal for ASEAN integration and hoped that China would support the sub-regional cooperation of ASEAN. Both sides also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding on medium- and long-term agricultural cooperation. It was decided to strengthen cooperation in drug prohibition.
ASEAN leaders indicated that during the Asian financial crisis, China enthusiastically extended its helping hand to ASEAN, and, under the present circumstance of a slowdown in global economic development, China, with actual deeds, actively strengthens exchange and cooperation with ASEAN nations, thus once again demonstrating China's responsible attitude. ASEAN nations held that China's development and its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) would bring more opportunities for the development of ASEAN countries, they expressed their willingness to further join hands with China to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and made common efforts to propel the establishment of an ASEAN-China free trade zone, they expected that China would play a more important role in boosting regional peace, stability and development.
This article, written by People's Daily Correspondent Shi Xiaohui, is published on Page 3 of the newspaper on November 7.
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