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Li Keqiang Attends 20th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit

Li Keqiang Attends 20th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit,

 Stressing to Build up Consensus, Increase Investment,

and Jointly Advance the Building of the East-Asia Economic Community

On the morning of November 14, 2017, local time, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 20th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit at Philippine International Convention Center. Leaders of the ten ASEAN countries, as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) attended the summit. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines chaired the summit.

Li Keqiang said in his remarks that over the past 20 years, thanks to the concerted efforts of all parties, the APT cooperation framework has kept improving and incorporated broader areas. It has become one of the most full-fledged and productive cooperation frameworks in Asia, making positive contribution to peace, stability, development and prosperity in East Asia.. China hopes that our meeting will build up consensus and send a positive message of our firm commitment to regional integration and to the building of the East Asia Economic Community (EAEC), which serves the interests of our countries and peoples and adds positive energy to fostering an open world economy.

Li Keqiang pointed out that building the EAEC has been one of the strategic objectives of APT cooperation and serves the long-term and fundamental interests of the people in the region. In China's view, EAEC building needs to serve one purpose, which is to promote regional economic integration to deliver integrated development and common progress.

Follow two principles, namely, sticks to the centrality of ASEAN and the ASEAN Way featuring consensus-building, openness and inclusiveness, and accommodating each other's comfort level. It needs to be advanced at the "three spheres" with APT cooperation serving as the main channel, the three 10+1 as the basis, and sub-regional mechanisms such as China-Japan-ROK, Lancang-Mekong and BIMP-EAGA as useful supplement. All this will help put EAEC on a track of sound, steady and sustainable development. Li Keqiang proposed six suggestions in this regard:

Firstly, we need to vigorously promote trade liberalization and facilitation to move toward a single market step by step. All parties need to further open their markets, and enhance liberalization in services trade and investment facilitation, expedite trilateral FTA negotiations among China, Japan and the ROK and take a more proactive approach in advancing RCEP negotiations. All parties should establish a pan-East Asia customs clearance cooperation mechanism, strengthen cooperation in customs and create enabling conditions for cross-border e-commerce.

Secondly, we need to expand industrial capacity and investment cooperation to forge industrial chains for win-win results. While expanding investment cooperation in traditional sectors such as light industry, textiles, home appliances, construction materials and metallurgy, we should advance cooperation in emerging sectors such as the digital economy, smart economy, green economy and sharing economy; we should also look for opportunities to expand third-party cooperation; and while leveraging the leading role of big companies, we should give full play to the supportive roles of SMEs, so that businesses of all sizes can better integrate their operations and to develop an APT SME Service Alliance.

Thirdly, we need to strengthen infrastructure cooperation to develop connectivity networks. China will work for greater synergy between its Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN's Connectivity Master Plan and, on that basis, explore with regional countries a master plan for East Asia connectivity that comprises land, sea, air and cyber links.

Fourthly, we need to deepen financial cooperation to safeguard regional financial stability. We should do a good job in the periodic review of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multi-lateralization Agreement, make it safer, more effective and more readily available, and add more building blocks to the regional financial safety net. We should engage full functionality of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Silk Road Fund, and the Association for Asian Financial Cooperation.

Fifthly, we need to strengthen cooperation in sustainable development to make development in East Asia more balanced, inclusive and beneficial to all. In building the EAEC, we need to make sure that all parties benefit from the process and that the concerns of the less developed countries and the disadvantaged communities are duly accommodated. In the interest of regional food security, China and Thailand have co-sponsored an APT Leaders' Statement on Food Security Cooperation to be adopted by this meeting. China welcomes more experience sharing with other APT countries to jointly explore effective ways of poverty reduction tailored to the needs of our region.

Sixth, we need to expand cultural and people-to-people exchange to instill a greater sense of community among our peoples. . For the EAEC to be successful, it must be built on solid popular support. We need to encourage more interactions between our peoples and more mutual learning in the cultural sphere to forge deeper mutual understanding, greater trust and stronger friendship. We need to step up tourism cooperation and make traveling easier, safer and more comfortable.

Li Keqiang emphasized that in 2017, China's economy has continued its good momentum of steady growth with simultaneous improvement in the speed and efficiency of growth. We will stay committed to the policy of opening-up and promote the formation of China's all-round opening-up. A more open and prosperous China will not only benefit the more than one billion Chinese people, but also offer larger markets and more opportunities for growth, investment and cooperation to countries across East Asia and the world. Let us join hands in building the East Asia Economic Community and together usher in another 20 years of even more dynamic APT cooperation.

All leaders highly recognized the significance and achievement of the APT cooperation to promote regional economic and social development and welcomed China's proposal on boosting APT cooperation. They were willing to take the 20th anniversary of APT cooperation as a great opportunity, and focus on long-term plans, further promote EAEC, strengthen the establishment of various mechanisms, and improve the level of cooperation. They also agreed to expand cooperation in infrastructure, trade, investment, finance, scientific and technological innovation, and people-to-people and cultural engagement so as to promote all-round connectivity, and promote regional peace and prosperity.

The summit adopted outcome documents including the ASEAN plus Three Leaders' Statement on Food Security Cooperation and Manila Declaration on the 20th Anniversary of APT Cooperation.

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