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Li Keqiang:To Write New Chapter for East Asian Cooperation and Open Up New Prospects for East Asian Development

Li Keqiang Attends 12th East Asia Summit, Emphasizing to Write a New Chapter for East Asian Cooperation and Open up New Prospects for East Asian Development

On the afternoon of November 14, 2017 local time, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 12th East Asia Summit (EAS) at the Philippine International Convention Center. Leaders from the ten ASEAN members, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of the US and others were present. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines chaired the summit.

Li Keqiang noted in his speech that peace and stability remain the prevailing trend, yet the world still faces enormous uncertainties and destabilizing factors. World economic recovery remains fragile; regional hotspots flare up one after another; and non-traditional security threats such as terrorism keep rising. Under such circumstances, peace and stability in East Asia have not come easily and should be cherished. The economic success of East Asia has not come easily and should be further built upon with great vigor. Regional integration in East Asia has not come easily and should be taken forward continuously.

Li Keqiang pointed out that since its inception 12 years ago, the East Asia Summit has, with its commitment to regional development, security and stability, grown into an important platform for dialogue and cooperation for countries from within and outside the region. We should maintain the nature of the EAS as a "leaders-led strategic forum", uphold ASEAN centrality, and advance economic development and political and security cooperation in parallel, as the two wheels driving EAS forward. We need to keep to the right direction, enhance overall planning and improve institution building to bring about sound and sustained development of the EAS. China wishes to make the following six-point proposal for the future cooperation.

First, speed up regional integration. China hopes to enhance the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, and deliver the benefits of the upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area at a faster pace. We will work with relevant parties for early conclusion of the negotiations on the China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Area and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Second, promote sustainable development. China, the Philippines and Laos have co-sponsored the EAS Leaders' Statement on Cooperation in Poverty Alleviation. China will host a seminar on environment and resources management, and continue to hold the Clean Energy Forum and New Energy Forum. China is ready to step up maritime dialogue and cooperation with other parties under the EAS framework.

Third, advance social development. China highly values its cooperation in health, education and other fields with EAS members. We will actively consider hosting cooperation programs on tumor prevention and control and the special food regulation, and continue to advance cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation such as technical and vocational education and training.

Fourth, jointly tackle non-traditional security threats. China supports the EAS leaders in issuing a statement on counter-terrorism cooperation and is ready to enhance counter-terrorism dialogue and cooperation with other parties to jointly uphold regional security and stability.

Fifth, develop new approaches to security. We need to advocate and follow a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept and work for win-win security. We call upon various parties to properly handle hotspot and sensitive issues and settle differences through dialogue and consultation.

Sixth, improve regional security architecture. We need to improve our approach to regional security governance to tackle security challenges. China supports continued discussion on a regional security architecture. We propose that a joint study be conducted by regional countries on improving the Asia-Pacific security architecture.

When talking about the South China Sea issue, Li Keqiang expressed that with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has notably eased and is showing a positive development momentum. The relevant parties have come back to the right track of resolving disputes through consultation and negotiation and improved their relations with countries concerned. China and ASEAN have initiated the next-step consultations on the text of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). It speaks volumes about the shared desire of regional countries to properly handle differences through dialogue and consultation for peace and stability in the South China Sea. It also fully demonstrates that regional countries have the confidence, wisdom and ability to properly address the South China Sea issue and make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Li Keqiang stressed that it was clearly stated at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held last month that China will follow the path of peaceful development, and promote the construction of a new type of international relations as well as the construction of a community with shared future for mankind. China's development will only bring opportunities for the development and prosperity of the East Asia and the world at large, and will not pose a threat to any country. The Chinese side wishes to work with all other EAS members to uphold the sound momentum of regional peace, development and cooperation, and actively push forward the construction of the East Asia Economic Community, in a bid to jointly write a new chapter for East Asian cooperation and open up new prospects for East Asian development.

Present leaders expressed that the EAS is an important leaders-led strategic forum in the region guided by state leaders. Member states should take this as a platform to enhance mutual trust, advance mutual opening up and trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, strengthen connectivity, maintain the development vitality of regional economy, and improve people's livelihood and well-being. At present, the region is facing with a series of traditional and non-traditional security challenges, including the spread of terrorism and rising tensions in certain areas. All parties should enhance communication, cope with them through cooperation, and improve regional security framework, in a bid to maintain lasting security in the region. The current situation in the South China Sea is stabilizing, and relevant countries have made progress in improving their relations. Maritime cooperation is being advanced. China has made positive efforts to this end. All leaders welcome China and ASEAN to launch the consultations on the text of the COC, and hoped that all parties could jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.

The summit adopted the EAS Leaders' Statement on Cooperation in Poverty Alleviation, the EAS Leaders' Statement on Chemical Weapons, the EAS Leaders' Statement on Preventing and Countering the Spread of Terrorist Ideology, the EAS Leaders' Declaration on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism and other outcome documents.

On the afternoon of the same day, Li Keqiang also attended the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Leaders' Meeting with leaders from the ten ASEAN countries and the ROK, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.

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