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11 Oct, 2013

China Flags Setting Up Infrastructure Funding Bank to Boost Links with ASEAN


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang put forward a seven-point proposal on further broadening and deepening cooperation between his country and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The China-ASEAN relations have grown to maturity and the bilateral cooperation has got on the fast track, Li said at the 16th China-ASEAN leaders’ meeting in the Bruneian capital.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (front) attends the 16th China-ASEAN leaders’ meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Oct. 9, 2013. (Xinhua/Liu Jiansheng)

He pointed out that the basis for advancing cooperation is to strengthen strategic trust and consolidate good-neighborliness, and the key to deepening cooperation is to focus on economic development and expand mutual benefit.

China and the 10-member bloc should seize opportunities and push forward their broad, deep, high-level and all-dimensional cooperation, said the Chinese premier, who also raised a seven-pronged proposal on the framework of bilateral cooperation in the coming 10 years.

First, the two sides should discuss the signing of a treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation to provide legal and institutional safeguards for bilateral strategic cooperation to move further forward, he said.

Second, the two sides need to beef up security exchanges and cooperation, he said, adding that they should not only improve the China-ASEAN defense ministers’ meeting mechanism but strengthen cooperation in such non-traditional areas as disaster prevention and relief, cyber-security and joint law enforcement.

Third, the two sides should launch negotiations on upgrading their free trade area and strive to bring bilateral trade to 1 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020 so as to allow ASEAN countries to benefit more from regional integration and China’s economic growth, he added.

Fourth, China and ASEAN need to speed up the construction of inter-connectivity infrastructure, he proposed, calling for concerted efforts to set up an Asian infrastructure investment bank as a platform for financing intra-ASEAN and regional inter-connectivity projects.

Fifth, the two sides should cooperate to enhance regional financial cooperation and immunity to risks, he said, suggesting that they broaden the scale and scope of their currency swap arrangement and make better use of the China-ASEAN Inter-Bank Association.

Sixth, the two sides should promote maritime cooperation, joining hands to build a 21st-century maritime Silk Road and giving priority to such areas as maritime economy, maritime inter-connectivity and environmental protection, he said.

Seventh, China and ASEAN need to rev up exchanges in culture, technology, environmental protection and other areas so as to consolidate the foundation for bilateral friendly cooperation, added the Chinese premier.

These proposals, said Li, is a policy declaration of a new generation of Chinese leadership on the development of China-ASEAN relations over the next 10 years.

China will continue to work with ASEAN to cement strategic mutual trust, deepen all-dimensional cooperation, achieve common development and open a new chapter in bilateral ties, added the premier.

Li noted that since China and ASEAN established a strategic partnership 10 years ago, they have seen their political mutual trust deepening steadily, practical cooperation advancing rapidly and people-to-people exchanges expanding consistently.

In addition, the two sides helped each other to deal with the international financial crisis and fight against major natural disasters, he said, pointing out that the record has demonstrated that advancing China-ASEAN cooperation accords with the interests of both sides.

China, he said, is willing to be ASEAN’s permanent partner and friend and carry out genuine cooperation with the bloc to bring more benefits to Asia and the world at large.

ASEAN leaders spoke highly of China’s adherence to good-neighborliness, commitment to assisting its neighbors through self-development, and contribution to regional prosperity and stability.

Lauding Li’s suggestions, they said the bloc values its ties with China, cherishes the achievements in bilateral cooperation, and is willing to chart the future course of China-ASEAN relations in line with the spirit of mutual trust and mutual benefit.

During the meeting, the two sides released a joint statement to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership.

Li arrived here earlier in the day to attend the ongoing series of East Asian leaders’ meetings and visit the country, the first leg of his first Southeast Asia tour since assuming premiership in March.

The trip will also take him to Thailand and Vietnam.