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Speech by Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing At 10+3 Ministerial Meeting

Kuala Lumpur, 26 July 2006

2006/08/01

Your Excellency Foreign Minister Syed,

Dear Colleagues,

It is good to see you all again. I would like to thank the Malaysian Government for its thoughtful arrangements and warm hospitality.

As the world is moving toward multipolarity and as economic globalization accelerates, to pursue peace through dialogue and seek solidarity and development through cooperation has become the shared desire of all the Asian countries and peoples. Emerging is a new Asia, which enjoys good neighborliness and friendship politically, mutual trust and coordination in security, equality and mutual benefit economically, and diversity and common prosperity culturally.

Over the past 10 years, 10+3 cooperation has yielded productive results in both width and depth. The collective decision-making mechanism under the Chiang Mai Initiative has been officially established, marking an important step toward multinationalism. Study on the feasibility of the East Asia Free Trade Area will be finished at the end of this year. Track II mechanisms such as the Network of East Asian Think-tanks pursue an active agenda. The inauguration of the first East Asia Summit at the end of last year ushered East Asia cooperation, with 10+3 as its main channel, into a new stage of development.

Next year, we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of 10+3 cooperation. In just ten years, 10+3 cooperation has grown rapidly and enjoys a broad prospect.

To promote 10+3 cooperation is our shared goal and is called for by economic integration in East Asia.

Ten plus three cooperation has improved the development environment in East Asia, enhanced the overall regional strength and delivered real benefits to all the countries concerned.

With more bilateral and multilateral free trade arrangements in East Asia coming into force, mutual investment between East Asian countries has increased substantially. In 2005, intra-regional trade in East Asia accounted for 56% of its total trade volume. 10+3 cooperation has brought the developing and developed countries in East Asia together and enabled them to draw on each other's strengths, thus boosting economic integration in the region.

Under the framework of 10+3 cooperation, nearly 50 mechanisms at various levels have been established, covering 18 areas such as political, economic, cultural and social aspects. This has provided a comprehensive platform for carrying out 10+3 cooperation.

However, as 10+3 cooperation is still a relatively new initiative, its growth is uneven in different areas, which presents a major challenge both at present and for the future.

To seize the current opportunity for promoting peace and development, fully tap into the potential of 10+3 cooperation and create conditions for the building of the East Asia Community, I would like to make the following proposals:

First, take the 10th anniversary of the 10+3 cooperation in 2007 as a good opportunity to raise our cooperation to a new high. The Chinese side supports the efforts to plan for future development by building on past achievements, particularly the drafting of the second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation. The Statement should be a guiding document which both summarizes the achievements and experiences of the 10+3 cooperation and provides strategic planning and guidance for the future.

Second, strengthen 10+1 relationships to form a synergy among all 10+3 countries. For ASEAN to play the leading role in 10+3 cooperation will ensure the right orientation for its growth. The Chinese side thus firmly supports the continued leading role by ASEAN in the 10+3 process. At the same time, the respective strength of China, Japan and the ROK should be brought into play so that the three pairs of 10+1 partnerships can pool their strengths and work together to promote the 10+3 process.

Third, the 10+3 process is based on cooperation in many areas. The vitality of the 10+3 can only be maintained by steadily expanding areas for pragmatic cooperation. The Chinese side will actively support and participate in new 10+3 cooperation areas such as women affairs, poverty alleviation and rural development, disaster reduction and relief and development of mineral resources. We are ready to continue discussions with all the parties concerned on expanding and deepening cooperation in new areas.

Fourth, in addition to 10+3 cooperation, there are new initiatives for East Asia cooperation, such as the East Asia Summit and cooperation between ASEAN and its dialogue partners. The Chinese side supports the 10+3 as the main channel for building the East Asia Community, to be completed by the East Asia Summit and other mechanisms. Together, they will contribute to peace and prosperity in the East Asian region.

Dear Colleagues,

Domestically, China is committed to pursuing scientific, coordinated and harmonious development. Internationally, China is dedicated to peaceful, open and cooperative development. This is a strategic choice made by China in light of its national conditions and in response to the calling of the times.

China's peaceful development cannot be achieved in isolation from the development of East Asia. Thanks to the platform of East Asia cooperation, China and its neighbors have notably enhanced their political mutual trust, intensified economic linkages and cultural exchange and deepened the friendship among their peoples. China remains committed to supporting and participating in East Asia cooperation and to pursuing a policy of building good-neighborly relationships and partnerships with its neighbors.

East Asia is our common homeland, and to realize durable peace, development and prosperity in this region is our common pursuit. China will continue to work with all other countries concerned to deepen the 10+3 cooperation and create a better future for East Asia.

Thank you all!
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