Work Together For a Better Future Through Stronger Cooperation
Work Together For a Better Future Through Stronger Cooperation
Premier Wen Jiabao
Dear Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi,
It gives me great pleasure to meet you here in Kuala Lumpur to address the important subject of enhancing regional cooperation. Before I start, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to the Malaysian Government and people for their warm reception.
Since the beginning of this year, East Asia has withstood the test of adversity. The East Asian countries have overcome the aftermath of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, contained high pathogenic avian flu and are absorbing the impact of rising oil prices. In the face of these difficulties and challenges, the East Asian countries and peoples have demonstrated tremendous courage and engaged in close cooperation. We the East Asian countries have both sustained fast economic growth and greatly boosted our capabilities of defusing crises, resisting disasters and reducing risks.
Thanks to our concerted efforts, encouraging fresh headway has been made in 10+3 cooperation over the past year. 10+3 economic cooperation and trade have continued to grow. The academic study on the feasibility of an East Asia Free Trade Area was formally launched and a network of free trade arrangements is taking shape. Financial cooperation has deepened, resulting in 17 agreements on bilateral swap arrangement (BSA) signed under the framework of the Chiang Mai Initiative. The parties concerned have agreed to establish and improve the collective decision-making mechanism and swap activation process on a bilateral basis and started the process to gradually multilateralize the Chiang Mai Initiative. Substantive progress has been made in the formation of an Asian Bond Market and the bond markets of East Asian currencies are fast expanding. Regional cooperation in such non-traditional security areas as combating transnational crimes has been stepped up. Cooperation in social security and development, poverty alleviation, investment by small and medium-sized enterprises and creative management for government has started and become more substantive in nature. The East Asia Forum, the Network of East Asian Think-Tanks (NEAT) and the Joint Study Convention on East Asia Cooperation have had wide-ranging discussions and given more intellectual input to regional cooperation.
East Asia is now at a critical stage of development. With economic globalization surging, regional economic integration has become the call of the day for East Asia development. Various regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms have been set up in East Asia, which are profoundly changing the political, economic and security environment in the region.
Under these new circumstances, to enhance and deepen the 10+3 cooperation is of great significance to keeping East Asia cooperation on the right track, helping the East Asian countries better respond to the opportunities and challenges of globalization and achieving prosperity and rejuvenation of the region.
n The 10+3 has evolved into a system of cooperation with fairly complete mechanisms, increasing substance, strong vitality and huge potential. It has served as a catalyst in cultivating and strengthening the sense of identity of East Asia and boosted development in the region. The 10+3 has thus established itself as the leader in guiding East Asia cooperation and laid a solid foundation for furthering regional cooperation in the future.
n Bearing in mind different national conditions and uneven development in the region, the 10+3 has taken initiatives first in areas of economic cooperation and trade which are of key interest to all parties. It has thus formed a growing bond of common interest among them, reinforced their inter-dependence, fostered political mutual trust and opened up new areas for cooperation. In doing so, the 10+3 has gained rich experience and expertise and become a major driving force propelling the development of East Asian countries.
n The 10+3 has adopted an approach featuring having dialogue on an equal footing, consensus-building, making gradual progress, and achieving mutual benefit and win-win results. It seeks to give full play to the strength of diversity in the region and to promote common development. This is in keeping with the call for democracy in international relations and diversity in modes of development, and is conducive to fostering a peaceful, amicable and harmonious regional environment in East Asia.
n The 10+3 respects ASEAN's leading role in promoting regional cooperation and bases itself on existing ASEAN cooperation arrangements, accommodating the interests of small and medium-sized countries while bringing into play the initiatives of China, Japan and the ROK. The 10+3 has evolved into a model for regional cooperation fitting the actual conditions in East Asia and with distinctive East Asian feature, thus boosting the overall development in East Asia.
n The 10+3 is committed to open regionalism. Although composed of countries in the region, it is not closed, exclusive, or targeted against any particular party. It has worked to enhance exchanges and mutual learning with other regions. This has both promoted growth in East Asia and created ample development opportunities for other regions. This will contribute to the common prosperity and progress of East Asia and the world at large.
The inception and growth of 10+3 shows that this mechanism is a natural choice made by all the East Asian countries in response to the trend of international development, economic globalization and regional integration. It gives concrete expression to the desire of the East Asian countries to achieve common development through unity. China supports ASEAN's position that the 10+3 should be the main channel for East Asia cooperation, for this will help build consensus, maintain momentum in cooperation and expand East Asia cooperation. It will also give play to the strength of all parties, coordinate their interests and contribute to the building of ASEAN and East Asia community. What is more, this approach will highlight priorities, improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of cooperation and ensure vitality for East Asia cooperation.
At last year's 10+3 Summit, the forming of the East Asia community was set as the long-term goal for 10+3 cooperation, which points the direction for East Asia cooperation. The major task facing us now is to seize the rare development opportunity that has presented itself and build an East Asia of lasting peace and stability, common development and prosperity. I wish to share with you my views on this subject:
First, we should both aim at achieving long-term development goal and pursue cooperation in the field in a step-by-step manner. East Asia cooperation is a long-term and accumulative process. When adopting plans for cooperation, we need to take into full account the actual conditions of all parties as well as immediate and future needs of development so as to consolidate the basis for cooperation.
Second, we should adopt flexible approaches and keep the process an open one. East Asia cooperation is a new undertaking with broad prospects. In enhancing the cooperation, we need to be flexible and pragmatic and create new forms of cooperation in response to changed circumstances and regional realities. We should encourage countries and organizations outside the region to be involved in East Asia cooperation so as to contribute their share to promoting development in East Asia.
Third, we should enhance mutual trust and seek common ground while shelving differences. In carrying out cooperation, we should adhere to the principles of mutual respect, treating each other as equals, mutual understanding, mutual accommodation and reaching consensus through consultation, enhance dialogue and communication as well as common understanding and mutual trust. We expand to the maximum areas of common interest.
Fourth, we should give due consideration to each other's concerns and strive for win-win results. Since East Asia is a region of great diversity, full consideration should be given to different cultural traditions, values, levels of development and concerns of all the countries concerned in carrying out East Asia cooperation. This will ensure such cooperation will yield mutual benefit and win-win results for all.
To further and deepen 10+3 cooperation, we should now give priority to improving the structure of economic cooperation and trade, enhancing capacity of managing public health emergencies and major natural disasters, highlighting cooperation in development, expanding security cooperation and increasing people-to-people exchanges. At the same time, we should adopt medium and long-term plans to elevate cooperation to a higher level. With this in mind, I wish to propose the following:
1. The 10+3 cooperation will soon enter its tenth year. China supports the issuance of the second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation at the 10+3 Summit in 2007 to sum up the experience and plan for the future. We may consider setting up a special working mechanism for this purpose.
2. We should continue to deepen 10+3 and East Asia economic cooperation and trade. The process of free trade between ASEAN and China, Japan and ROK should be accelerated and feasibility studies on East Asia Free Trade Area expedited. We should also speed up the multilateralization process of the Chiang Mai Initiative and explore the feasibility of putting in place a framework for regional financial cooperation. Facing an increasingly acute shortage in international energy supply, the East Asian countries should strengthen energy cooperation.
3. We should make the management of public health emergencies and major natural disasters a key area for 10+3 cooperation. The cross-border spread of highly pathogenic avian flu poses a grave threat to human life and health. East Asia is among the regions with high avian flu incidence. To strengthen cooperation in prevention and control of the highly pathogenic avian flu and stopping its transmission to human is an urgent task facing us. We should strengthen cooperation in the prevention and control of avian flu, especially in exchanging information and technical expertise on early warning, epidemic monitoring and vaccine R&D. China will set up the Asian Regional Research Center on Catastrophe and work with other East Asian countries to strengthen capacity building and improve efficiency and effectiveness in managing major natural disasters.
4. We should intensify development cooperation and narrow gap in development. UNDP has set up a regional poverty alleviation center in China. China is ready to host the 2nd 10+3 Regional Workshop on Poverty Alleviation next year to enhance cooperation with other countries in poverty alleviation. China wishes to promote agricultural cooperation in East Asia, strengthen exchange of agricultural information and technology with other countries and jointly promote rural development.
5. We should strengthen cooperation in areas of non-traditional security by jointly combating terrorism, smuggling, drug trafficking and other transnational crimes and promoting cooperation in maritime security. China has proposed conducting military sports exchange activities among the 10+3 countries to enhance understanding and trust among the armed forces of these countries.
6. We should deepen and expand cultural, educational and youth cooperation. The 10+3 cooperation needs the support of the general public and particularly the younger generation, and cultural and educational cooperation is an important bond linking the East Asian countries. China will host the 8th Asia Arts Festival next year, during which the ASEAN Culture Week featuring the exhibition of fine traditional handicrafts of the ASEAN countries will be held. China will also host a training course on cooperation in human resources development in the cultural field for the 10+3 countries. The East Asian countries should also speed up mutual recognition of academic credentials and degrees so as to make it possible to fully use the educational resources in all these countries.
China is a member of the East Asian region. China's development cannot be achieved without support and assistance of other East Asian countries. China's development, in turn, is crucial in achieving East Asian prosperity and rejuvenation. To firmly support and participate in East Asia cooperation is an important component of China's foreign policy. China seeks no leadership role in regional cooperation. China supports all initiatives that are in the common interests of all parties and are conducive to East Asia cooperation and development. ASEAN is the organizer of and main driving force for 10+3 cooperation. This is the reality, and it is endorsed by all parties. China will continue to support ASEAN in playing the leading role. We also call for better coordination among China, Japan and ROK so as to bring into full play their respective strength and roles. China is opposed to building any self-closed or exclusive bloc in the region. China supports 10+3 in enhancing communication and dialogue with the United States, the European Union and other countries or organizations outside the region to expand common interests and achieve common development.
Without cooperation, East Asia would not enjoy today's development, and it would certainly not see the prospect of future development. East Asia cooperation is our common endeavor. It is the source of aspiration for accomplishing development and rejuvenation in East Asia. Let us make up our mind, seize the opportunity and work together for a better future of East Asia cooperation.