China willing to boost ties with Indonesia and ASEAN, says Wen
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated here on Saturday the country's willingness to boost friendly relations with Indonesia and with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
TIES WITH INDONESIA
China will strengthen good-neighborly relations and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with Indonesia to jointly create a bright future in bilateral ties, Premier Wen said in a speech at Balai Kartini in Jakarta.
The premier, who was on the last day of his two-day visit to Indonesia, said both China and Indonesia boast a long and splendid culture and the two peoples sympathized with and supported each others during the hard struggles for national independence and forged a strong bond of friendship.
He said the two countries have enjoyed frequent high-level exchanges, ever deepening political mutual trust and fast growing business cooperation since the beginning of the 21st century.
"Our two sides have maintained close communication and coordination in international affairs, which has enhanced the influence of developing countries," he said.
Wen said he has held comprehensive and in-depth talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit, and that the two sides have reached important agreement and decided to further strengthen China-Indonesia strategic partnership.
"My visit this time is a journey of friendship and cooperation. It is also aimed at planning for the future," he added.
TIES WITH ASEAN
Wen said China will stick to its policy of securing an amicable, tranquil and prosperous neighborhood in dealing with ASEAN, currently chaired by Indonesia.
"China will remain committed to this policy no matter what changes may take place in the international situation," he said.
"China firmly supports ASEAN's leading role in regional cooperation," he said, adding that the existing regional cooperation mechanism in East Asia should always develop with ASEAN in the driver's seat.
China firmly holds the belief that East Asian cooperation will enjoy sound development only if ASEAN continues to play its leading role, he said. "China is committed to deepening practical cooperation with ASEAN."
"Last year, China became ASEAN's biggest trading partner. We launched the largest FTA among developing countries and we have set the target of 500 billion U.S. dollars in two-way trade by 2015," said Wen.
The premier said China would speed up land transport connectivity between China and ASEAN and provide financial support to road, rail, communication, electricity and other infrastructure development in ASEAN countries.
China would also, in light of ASEAN's needs, increase input into maritime and air connectivity and promote facilitation and standardization of related areas in a bid to create better conditions for the free flow of goods, capital and information, people-to-people exchanges, and economic and social development in the region, he said.
"China will actively promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges with ASEAN countries," Wen said, calling on the two sides "to further tap the potential of cooperation in education and tourism, and encourage more two-way flows of students and tourists."
The two sides have drawn up a plan to increase the numbers of Chinese students in ASEAN countries and ASEAN students in China to 100,000 respectively by 2020. At a China-ASEAN Summit last year, a target was announced to have 15 million mutual visits between the two sides by 2015.
"China will continue to assist the less developed countries in ASEAN with no conditions attached," he said.
China has learned from its own development that to shake off poverty and backwardness, a country must rely on well-trained professionals and science and technology, he said.
Therefore, the Chinese government will increase input in capacity building and human resources training to help the less developed ASEAN members gain faster progress toward their development goals, he added.
"China stands ready to work with ASEAN to maintain regional security and stability," he said, noting China wants to work more closely with ASEAN to tackle such non-traditional security threats as terrorism, transnational crimes, natural disasters and communicable diseases, and foster a peaceful and harmonious social environment.
"China supports efforts to steadily push forward East Asian cooperation and maintain its openness," Wen said.
China welcomes all proposals that are conducive to regional stability and development and supports the participation of the United States, Russia, the European Union and other countries and organizations in the East Asian cooperation process, he said, noting the independence and diversity of East Asia must be respected.
Wen emphasized that in advancing East Asian cooperation, a step-by-step approach must be followed.
The priority now is to bring into full play the role of the existing cooperation frameworks, including 10 plus 1 (ASEAN plus China), 10 plus 3 (ASEAN plus China, South Korea and Japan), and cooperation frameworks between China, Japan and South Korea. At the same time, efforts should also be made to explore other cooperation models consistent with the characteristics of the region, he said.
Also on Saturday, the Chinese premier met with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, with both sides pledging to enhance bilateral cooperation and ties.
ASEAN is comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.