Remarks by H.E. Wen Jiabao Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China At the 13th China-ASEAN Summit
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,
I am delighted to attend the 13th China-ASEAN Summit. I would like to thank the Vietnamese government for its active efforts in hosting this meeting. This is the eighth time I attend the East Asia leaders' meetings and I come with a wish for friendship and cooperation.
The implementation of the first five-year Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity will soon be completed, and at this meeting, we will adopt and issue the second five-year Plan of Action. We are gathered today at a critical juncture of building on the past achievements and striving for new progress. It is of great significance that we sum up experience and make plans for the future to bolster confidence and deepen cooperation.
In 2003, China and ASEAN announced the establishment of the strategic partnership for peace and prosperity. This was a milestone in the East Asian cooperation process. Irrespective of the changes in the international environment, China and ASEAN have continuously deepened political mutual trust, enhanced strategic communication and coordination, and worked together to maintain regional peace and stability. China has become ASEAN's biggest trading partner, and ASEAN is China's fourth largest trading partner. Together, we have tackled the extremely severe international financial crisis. We have established on schedule the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, and our two-way trade and mutual investment have grown by as much as 172% and 142% respectively since 2003. We now have wider fields of cooperation, improved dialogue mechanisms and closer people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We will not forget the sympathy and support from the ASEAN countries when China was hit by severe natural disasters. China, on its part, has also provided sincere assistance to the development of ASEAN.
China will continue to support ASEAN in its efforts to form the Political-Security Community, Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community by 2015. We hope that ASEAN's development will make new contribution to peace and prosperity in Asia and beyond.
China-ASEAN relations have stood severe tests and made constant headway. This is because both sides abide by the principle and spirit of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, pursue good-neighborly relations based on mutual respect, and seek common ground while shelving differences. It is because we support and work closely with each other in advancing regional cooperation in East Asia. And it is because the two sides stick to the development paths suited to our respective national conditions and follow the trend of the times characterized by reform, opening-up and inclusiveness.
China and ASEAN countries are among the first to achieve an economic recovery and rebound, and our economies enjoy quite strong momentum of growth. However, the world economic recovery is not strong and its prospects are not clear. China is under enormous population, environmental and resources pressure, and its development still lacks adequate coordination, balance and sustainability. China still has a long way to go before it can achieve modernization. In this connection, China and many ASEAN countries are in similar situation, and we need to continue to work together to meet challenges.
China and ASEAN countries are connected by mountains and rivers. We have similar historical experiences and common development objectives. Our destinies have never been as closely interconnected as they are today. We cherish the traditional friendship with ASEAN countries. China values peace and is committed to pursuing friendly relations and common development with neighboring countries based on mutual trust. We are opposed to self-supremacy and hegemony. Neither dominance by nor confrontation between big powers is in the interest of countries in this region. China wants to be ASEAN's good neighbor, good friend and good partner forever.
For years, China-ASEAN cooperation has been most pragmatic, most extensive and most fruitful. Looking ahead, we should continue to pursue peaceful development through friendly cooperation. We must pay more attention to sustainable economic development, all-dimensional connectivity, social and cultural exchanges and the integration building in East Asia. We must work closely with each other to implement the second five-year Plan of Action to ensure that China-ASEAN cooperation will stay at the forefront of East Asian cooperation. To advance regional cooperation, China will contribute another 17 million US dollars to the Asia Regional Cooperation Fund.
Here, I would like to set out the following proposals.
First, promote the sustainable, sound and rapid development of China-ASEAN economic relations and trade.
With the full establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, there has been far greater efficiency in the flow of capital, materials, technologies, human resources, and other factors of production between the two sides. This has provided an enabling environment for the expansion of our trade and investment cooperation. According to Chinese statistics, in the first nine months this year, our bilateral trade had reached 211.31 billion US dollars, up 43.7% year-on-year. China ran a deficit of 12.25 billion US dollars, with 99.53 billion US dollars in exports, and 111.78 billion US dollars in imports. Our bilateral trade for this year is expected to reach a historical high. China will intensify efforts to buy more from ASEAN. We will closely cooperate with ASEAN to simplify customs clearance procedures and enhance cooperation concerning the inspection and quarantine technical standards and place of origin to promote trade facilitation. We will encourage enterprises of the two sides to establish closer links, make better use of the FTA and appropriately handle problems and differences. To this end, I'd like to propose the establishment of the Industrial Cooperation Mechanism. We propose that the two sides work together to increase the bilateral trade to 500 billion US dollars by 2015.
The Chinese government encourages well-established businesses to expand and upgrade investment in ASEAN countries. China's statistics show that by the end of 2009, its direct investment stock in ASEAN stood at 9.57 billion US dollars and over half of it was made since 2008. Chinese investment has expanded beyond such traditional sectors as mining and construction into energy, manufacturing and commercial services. The Chinese government will continue to actively encourage prominent Chinese enterprises to invest in ASEAN countries, strengthen our cooperation in textiles, iron and steel, machinery, ship building, chemical industry, information, automobile and other sectors, explore with ASEAN countries the possibility of reaching cooperation agreement in the industrial field, and jointly raise the competitiveness of our manufacturing industries. Building economic and trade cooperation zones is an effective way to meet this objective. China is ready to work actively with ASEAN countries to create conditions and jointly establish one such zone in each ASEAN member state within five years.
Second, put in place the preliminary network of connectivity.
Last year, China announced its 15 billion US dollars credit support to ASEAN countries, including 6.7 billion US dollars in concessional loans, with a focus on highways, railways, waterways, energy pipelines, information and communications, power grids and other infrastructure projects between China and relevant ASEAN countries. To date, 10.1 billion US dollars has been put to use, including 3.1 billion US dollars of concessional loans. China will increase communication with ASEAN countries and take into full consideration your practical needs to ensure effective use of the remainder of the fund and provide further financing support in the light of the actual circumstances.
The China-ASEAN Fund on Investment Cooperation is, in part, ready for commercial operation, and investment in mature projects can commence before the end of this year. Relevant agencies from ASEAN countries are welcome to discuss with us investment cooperation.
The two sides need to work closely together to effectively implement the priority projects in the Strategic Plan for China-ASEAN Transport Cooperation, achieve land transport connectivity between China and ASEAN countries within 10 to 15 years, and sign the air transport agreement at an early date. We need to steadily advance the planning for the Pan-Asia Railway network, transport facilitation and technical standards harmonization, and make the above programs and the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity dovetail with and reinforce each other in order to create conditions for raising the level of regional connectivity.
Third, advance the opening-up and cooperation of financial and capital markets in an orderly fashion.
The establishment of China-ASEAN FTA has made it all the more imperative to strengthen China-ASEAN financial cooperation. China encourages its financial institutions to set up branches in ASEAN countries and will actively consider the desire of ASEAN financial institutions to open branches in China. China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to expand the scale of bilateral currency swap, jointly promote the settlement of trade and investment in local currencies and intensify coordination and cooperation within the G20 and other multilateral bodies.
The China-ASEAN Inter-bank Association jointly initiated by the China Development Bank and banks of ASEAN countries is an important innovation. We should support this platform in playing its full role in providing diverse financial services for our economic and technical cooperation and trade and investment development.
The two sides should improve dialogue mechanisms and strengthen exchange and cooperation on the legal framework and regulation regarding financial markets. We should develop financial instruments suited to the financial markets within the region, work on new financial products, expand financial services, and gradually build an open and multi-tiered financial cooperation architecture to jointly uphold regional financial stability.
Fourth, expand and strengthen regional cooperation in agro-economy.
China and most ASEAN countries have a large rural population and rich agricultural resources. Agriculture is of fundamental importance in the economies of both sides, and it is our common strategic decision to strengthen agricultural cooperation. This is of great significance to ensuring food security, raising the competitiveness of agricultural products, improving people's livelihood and maintaining steady economic growth. China is ready to develop the strategic framework and plan of action on agricultural cooperation with ASEAN, establish and improve cooperation mechanisms and pay particular attention to our priority cooperation areas. We want to work with ASEAN for more effective implementation of the China-ASEAN Action Plan on Comprehensive Food Productivity Enhancement. First, enhance cooperation on trans-border animal and plant disease prevention and control. We would like to work with ASEAN countries to build 20 monitoring stations for this purpose, establish an epidemic early-warning system for information sharing, and create joint prevention and control mechanisms to raise our capacities of preparedness. Second, further develop quality, high-yield crop demonstration fields. We will work with ASEAN countries to build 20 experimental stations of improved crop varieties with a demonstration area of one million hectares, breed and spread improved varieties and raise the unit output and productivity of crops. Third, carry on the agricultural training. We will train in China 1,000 agricultural personnel from ASEAN countries to help raise the level of agro-science and technology in those countries. Fourth, we will send 300 agricultural experts and technical personnel to ASEAN countries to provide technical guidance. Fifth, we will build three new agro-technology demonstration centers in ASEAN countries and bring into play their role of training, technology display and field demonstration to promote progress in agro-science and technology of ASEAN countries. Sixth, increase mutual investment in agriculture and achieve efficient allocation of agricultural resources in our region.
Fifth, scale up input in sustainable development.
A joint statement on sustainable development will be issued at this meeting. This underscores the resolve of China and ASEAN countries to join hands in confronting major challenges such as climate change, poverty and natural disasters. The two sides should, in keeping with the China-ASEAN Strategy on Environmental Protection Cooperation, work out an action plan at an early date, give full play to the role of the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Centre, explore the possibility of launching the China-ASEAN Green Envoy Program, and take solid steps to push forward our exchanges and cooperation in circular economy, green economy, energy conservation and environmental protection.
The Chinese side suggests that we begin consultations on the China-ASEAN disaster reduction and relief agreement with a view to institutionalizing our related cooperation and better protecting the life and property of people in the region.
China stands ready to sign with ASEAN the MOU on Public Health Cooperation at an early date to advance our cooperation in communicable disease prevention and control and application of traditional medicines.
China will continue to provide assistance to the underdeveloped countries in ASEAN and support ASEAN in narrowing its internal development gap and achieving the Millennium Development Goals as scheduled. We will work in close communication and coordination with relevant parties to adopt at an early date the GMS Strategic Framework for 2012-2022 to push forward exchange and cooperation on the utilization of the Mekong River water resources and environmental protection, effectively implement the Framework for Economic Cooperation between the Government of China and BIMP-EAGA signed last year, and conclude the feasibility studies on Pan-Beibu Bay economic cooperation as soon as possible. In addition, we will train 15,000 technical and management personnel for ASEAN countries within five years.
Sixth, deepen mutual understanding and friendship between the people.
Mutual trust is fundamental to strong state-to-state relations, and good-neighborly relations between countries are predicated on public support. China and ASEAN should vigorously strengthen exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, tourism and youth affairs.
China proposes that the year 2011 be designated as the China-ASEAN Friendship and Exchange Year, in which the two sides will jointly hold a rich variety of events.
The two sides need to work closely to fully implement the program of Double 100,000 Goal of Students Mobility in 2020 and enhance cooperation on the training of high-caliber personnel. China will provide 10,000 government scholarships to ASEAN countries and invite 10,000 young teachers, scholars and students from ASEAN to visit China in the coming 10 years.
The tourism sector has become increasingly important in the Chinese and ASEAN economies and holds out great potential for cooperation. The two sides should take active steps to streamline entry and exit procedures, improve transport conditions and provide higher quality services with a view to meeting the goal of 15 million mutual visits by 2015.
Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, the China-ASEAN Centre will soon be established. We should make the most of this platform to promote exchanges and cooperation across the board.
We will celebrate the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations next year. Reviewing the past, we have worked in concert to overcome difficulties and remove disruptions, charted a path toward regional cooperation with Asian features through our own efforts, and achieved unprecedented development and prosperity. Looking ahead, we will seize opportunities, cooperate with stronger confidence and sincerity and elevate the China-ASEAN strategic partnership to a higher level.