Speech by Premier Wen Jiabao of the People's Republic ofPromoting Peace and Prosperity by Deepening Cooperation in All-round Way Speech by Premier Wen Jiabao of the People's Republic of China at the Seventh China-ASEAN Summit Bali, 8 October 2003

Promoting Peace and Prosperity by Deepening Cooperation in All-round Way Speech by Premier Wen Jiabao of the People's Republic of China at the Seventh China-ASEAN Summit Bali, 8 October 2003

Your Excellency President Megawati,

Distinguished Colleagues,

I am so glad to see you again on the picturesque Bali Island. Since becoming China's new premier, I have made two overseas trips, both having something to do with ASEAN. This is a way explaining how close China's relations with the Association have become.

In April, we had a special summit in Bangkok to discuss how to fight back the rampant SARS epidemic. We reached important consensus on SARS prevention cooperation, enhanced mutual trust, worked out new forms of cooperation and opened up new areas of cooperation. Let me take this opportunity to thank ASEAN countries for your understanding and support.

Now we are gathered here once again to discuss ways to solidify and upgrade China-ASEAN relations. This meeting, in my view, will have a positive impact on the development of our relations for it will build on our past achievements and chart a new course for the future.

The Chinese Government is committed to building good-neighborly relationships and partnerships with China's neighbors. We will take concrete steps to promote good-neighborliness, friendship and regional cooperation and bring our ties with the surrounding countries to a new high.

As friendly neighbors, ASEAN countries have become China's important cooperation partners in bilateral ties, intra-regional cooperation and regional and international affairs. It is a vital part of China's policy towards surrounding countries under the new circumstances to be the good neighbors, good friends and good partners of ASEAN countries.

Guided by the Joint Statement signed by President Jiang Zemin and ASEAN leaders in 1997, China-ASEAN relations have been upgraded continuously over the past 6 years, forming an encouraging pattern of political mutual respect, economic mutual complementarity and mutual trust in the area of security.

Our meeting today will be followed by a signing ceremony marking China's accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). It is yet another testimony to our deeper political trust and higher level of cooperation.

We will also sign and make public the Joint Declaration on the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. This is not only a sum-up of our past progress, but a crucial guidance for a comprehensive, deep-going, steady and sustained development of China-ASEAN relations in the new century. The document is an important milestone, marking the beginning of a new stage in the relations between China and ASEAN. The Chinese Government will step up its mutually beneficial cooperation with ASEAN in accordance with the Declaration and join ASEAN in making greater contribution to peace and development in the region.

Distinguished Colleagues,

At present, the international and regional situations are undergoing complex and profound changes. Given such a backdrop, we should focus even greater attention on expanding the areas of converging interests and promoting common development and common security. Our cooperation should be broader, deeper and more performance-oriented and deliver more benefits to the people. Our cooperation should feature a wider regional and global perspective, helping not just ourselves but also the rest of Asia in terms of coping with new challenges. To this end, the Chinese Government wishes to work for stronger and deeper mutually beneficial cooperation with ASEAN, in the following areas:

First, strengthening political dialogue to enhance mutual trust.

China has always attached importance to its political relations with ASEAN. There should be more high-level exchanges in the future to deepen the mutual understanding and friendship between the leaders of the two sides. Dialogue and consultation mechanisms at the different levels should be brought into fuller and more effective play.

China's accession to TAC has brought China-ASEAN relations into a new stage of development, and given them a fresh start. We should build on this and continue to consolidate the political and legal basis of bilateral ties.

Second, deepening economic and trade ties to accelerate common development.

The past decade saw two-way trade grow more than six times. Since 1997, our trade volume has increased at an average annual rate of some 20%, reaching US$ 54.77 billion last year. It reached US$ 47.73 billion in the first eight months of the year, up by 43.4% over the same period of last year. To further expand our trade, I wish to call for our joint efforts to break the US$ 100 billion mark by year 2005.

The Framework Agreement on China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation of 2002 set the goal of establishing a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) by 2010. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the two sides, the relevant negotiations have made gratifying headway. Starting from January 1, 2004, the "early harvest" program under the CAFTA framework will be under way. China is ready to work closely with ASEAN to speed up the negotiations and complete the CAFTA as scheduled. The two sides should have a long term point of view, take the CAFTA project as an opportunity to deepen bilateral cooperation in finance, service, investment, agriculture and IT industry and vigorously promote economic integration. To facilitate trade, investment and mutually beneficial cooperation between the business sectors from the two sides, we suggest that a China-ASEAN Expo be held annually in Nanning? The capital city of China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region starting from next year.

Third, stepping up cooperation in security to keep the region stable.

At present, we are all faced with threats posed by terrorism, religious extremism and separatism, as well as challenges from other transnational problems. China is willing to join ASEAN in implementing the Joint Declaration of China and ASEAN on Cooperation in the Field of Non-traditional Security Issues, sign the relevant MOU and conduct substantive cooperation. Non-traditional security should be the priority of our cooperation in the security field. To increase mutual understanding and common ground in this respect, we wish to propose that a bilateral dialogue be held at an appropriate time to address the issue of security policies and strategies. Detailed arrangement can be discussed by both sides at the working level. We are also ready to consult ASEAN on China's entry into the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast AsiaNuclear Weapon Free Zone.

Last year, by signing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, China and ASEAN demonstrated their firm commitment to peaceful settlement of their dispute over the South China Sea issue, and closer cooperation to maintain stability in the area. China is completely positive in implementing the Declaration and looks forward to working out the specific methods, areas and items of the follow-up actions with ASEAN, with a view to implementing the Declaration at an early date.

Fourth, promoting scientific and technological exchanges to complement each other with respective advantages.

In today's world, science and technology is a key driving force of economic development. China has a rather complete R&D system while ASEAN countries enjoy an edge in certain research and application fields. The two sides should step up scientific and technological exchanges, sharing respective strength and enriching the existing cooperation. We are ready to give greater scope to the China-ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting in the Field of Science and Technology and the Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, go for vigorous cooperation with ASEAN in such areas as information technology, bio-technology, remote sensing technology and application, seismology, marine sciences and research of tropical life resources, and strive to upgrade cooperation level in this field.

Fifth, widening the all-round cooperation to serve the people on both sides.

Improving people's living standards and narrowing the wealth gap is the common task before us. The Chinese side supports the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and will increase the resources put into the development of the Mekong Basin. China will commence the contracted construction of the Laotian section of Kunming-Bangkok Highway early next year, and finance the feasibility study of the missing link of the Pan-Asia Railway inside Cambodia. We attach importance to the cooperation of BIMP-EAGA and will send a high-level economic, trade and investment mission to ASEAN next year to discuss cooperation details. We will continue to take advantage of the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund to expand bilateral cooperation on human resources development, including personnel training, with emphasis on new ASEAN members.

An all-round development of bilateral relations calls for further exploration of new frontiers of cooperation. The SARS episode highlights the need to activate the 10+1 Health Ministers' Meeting mechanism and deepen bilateral cooperation in public health. China supports the formulation of an MOU on bilateral cultural cooperation and expects greater cooperation in culture and education with ASEAN.

To deepen the people-to-people friendship, China will launch the China-ASEAN Association, hoping to see a parallel mechanism on the ASEAN side as soon as possible. We also wish to propose a mechanism of a China-ASEAN Youth Ministers' Meeting to promote exchanges and cooperation by the young people from the two sides. We support activities by business chambers of the two sides and will seriously consider holding a China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. In addition, we will step up bilateral cooperation in tourism by promoting greater flow of people between the two sides.

Sixth, enhancing coordination to bring about a stable environment.

For a long time, China and ASEAN have enjoyed sound coordination and cooperation in regional and international affairs. We will join ASEAN in accelerating East Asia cooperation and regional economic integration with the 10+3 mechanism as the principal channel, and continue to support ASEAN in playing a key role in ARF and promoting the Forum's sound development. We appreciate the positive role played by ASEAN in such mechanisms as ACD, APEC, ASEM and FEALAC, and look forward to closer bilateral cooperation and coordination with ASEAN in these mechanisms and other international bodies.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Both China and ASEAN are important players of the Asia-Pacific region. China's development will spell opportunities for ASEAN, and a strong ASEAN also serves China's interests. Greater cooperation between us not only conforms with our common interests, but also contributes immensely to peace and development in the region. We should further strengthen our concerted efforts to create a new situation for China-ASEAN relations in the new century.

Thank you all.

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