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Strengthening East Asian Cooperation and Promoting Common Development--Statement by Premier Zhu Rongji of China at the 5th 10+3 Summit

Bandar Seri Begawan, 5 November 2001

2001-12-04 00:00
Your Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah,

Dear Colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to come to the beautiful Bandar Seri Begawan to attend the 5th 10+3 Summit, and to meet friends old and new. As the first meeting of East Asian leaders in the new century, it serves as an important link between the past and the future. Let me take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the host government for its thoughtful arrangements and gracious hospitality.

The recent successful APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting held in Shanghai was a new step forward in promoting regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. I am sure that under your Majesty's able leadership, this meeting will also yield productive results.

Peace, cooperation and prosperity in Asia are what all of us here desire and pursue. The 10+3 Cooperation Mechanism between ASEAN and China, Japan and the ROK emerged four years ago against the background of the Asian financial crisis. This Cooperation Mechanism respects the diversity of national conditions and the unevenness in the level of economic development of various countries and follows such principles as mutual benefit, incremental progress and stressing on practical results. To build on existing cooperation programs within ASEAN countries, the 10+3 cooperation gives full consideration to the interests of all parties, the small and medium-sized countries in particular, which makes it unique among regional cooperation mechanisms in the world. Solidly based and full of vitality, the 10+3 cooperation has made significant headway in a matter of four years.

The 10+3 Cooperation Mechanism centers around the annual summit meeting of all its member countries, complemented by ministerial and working level meetings, which facilitates cooperation progress in a large number of areas. At its inception, the 10+3 cooperation focused on economic issues with financial cooperation as the starter. The East Asia Joint Statement, issued at the Manila Meeting in 1999, identified 8 key areas of cooperation, ranging from economic, social, political to security field. The East Asia Vision Group, which was inaugurated in the same year, provided a long-term development plan for East Asia cooperation. Thanks to these and other efforts of all parties, the 10+3 cooperation has become sharper in focus and its contents more clearly identified.

The ongoing economic globalization, the accelerating regional integration process and the rapid scientific and technological progress in the new century have brought about fresh opportunities of development for all countries. At the same time, the challenges we have encountered are unprecedented. Since the beginning of this year, the world economy has further slowed down, creating new difficulties for the East Asia economies just coming out of the dark shadows of the financial crisis. The terrorist attacks against the United States not long ago have added new uncertainty and instability to the political and economic situation around the world. In such complicated and volatile international environment, it is necessary to further step up regional cooperation if we want to effectively cope with the risks and challenges in the economic, social and security areas and to ensure social stability and economic development.

China values and supports the various cooperation projects as they are conducted among East Asian countries in the current fashion, and supports the continued important role by the ASEAN. At the last year's 10+3 summit, the Chinese side proposed a number of cooperation initiatives, most of which have been implemented. The Chinese side has submitted a "Follow-up Action Report" to the present summit, hoping that it will be a useful reference to all parties. It is our hope that the East Asia cooperation in the new century, will build on the existing foundation, focus on future development, improve the operation mechanism and enrich the contents of cooperation so as to advance our cooperation to a new high. Here I would like to make a few suggestions:

1. To further define the orientation and goals of the cooperation. As the main channel of East Asia cooperation, the 10+3 mechanism should be geared to improve the cooperation framework of regionwide trade and investment, promote mutually beneficial cooperation in finance, science and technology, information and environmental protection, and ensure greater regional economic integration and common development. At the same time, efforts should be made to gradually carry out dialogue and cooperation in the political and security fields, consistent with the principles of consensus and incremental progress. The 10+3 cooperation should retain its openness and be ready to explore ways of establishing contacts with other regional cooperation mechanisms in the world as may be appropriate. China supports the East Asia Study Group in its effort to explore long-term goals of regional cooperation that conform to East Asian reality, based on the report of East Asia Vision Group.

2. To promote a coordinated development of the 10+3 and 10+1 cooperation. As important components of the East Asia cooperation these two types of cooperation should be brought to complement and promote one another. Within the three sets of 10+1 cooperation between ASEAN on the one hand and China, Japan and ROK on the other, the three countries can bring into play their respective advantages while giving support to ASEAN's integration process. The three sets of 10+1 cooperation also need to strengthen coordination among themselves.

3. To carry forward financial cooperation. In implementing the Chiang Mai Initiative, China and Thailand will soon sign a bilateral currency swap agreement upon conclusion of negotiations. Similar negotiations are proceeding vigorously between China and a few other countries. Next year, China will hold a high-level seminar on the management of short-term capital flow, with a view to launching cooperation in monitoring short-term capital flow. China will continue to provide training programs on fiscal policy and finance for some countries under the cooperation mechanism.

4. To galvanize exchanges among people of broad sections of society. The development of state-to-state relations needs the understanding and support of the people. It is necessary to encourage and strengthen exchanges in this respect. To this end, China supports a 10+3 tourism ministers' meeting early next year. It would also be a good idea if an East Asia cultural festival, a film festival or other activities can be held. Communication and cooperation among the news media is also very important as they serve to increase mutual understanding and make Asia more vocal in international arena.

5. To conduct dialogue and cooperation in the field of non-traditional security. At present, such transnational crimes as terrorism, drug trafficking and alien smuggling are increasingly rampant, becoming an acute threat to regional and global security. Our dialogue and cooperation in the political and security fields could begin by focusing on these areas first, with their contents gradually enriched as they go on.

Since the beginning of the year, against the backdrop of conspicuous economic slowdown in the world, China has insisted on expanding domestic demand and managed to sustain a good growth momentum. Its GDP of the first three quarters of this year was up by 7.6%, and the annual growth rate is expected to top 7%. The Chinese economy has entered a new stage of development with the advent of the new century. We will work hard to restructure our economy, actively implement the strategies of "revitalizing the country through science and education" and "sustainable development", and accelerate the development of the western part of China. At the same time, we will relentlessly press ahead with our market-oriented economic reform and speed up institutional innovation. Despite difficulties on the road to progress, we have the confidence, and the capability, to ensure a sustained, rapid and sound development of the Chinese economy. A stable and more developed China is a major contribution to peace and development of this region and the world at large.

As China will very soon join the WTO, its opening to the outside world will assume even greater scope and depth. This undoubtedly means more opportunities and wider room for cooperation between China and countries all over the world, other Asian countries in particular. China has increasingly become an attractive and safe destination for investors and tourists. Business communities of East Asian countries are welcome to invest in China and go in for economic and technological cooperation of various forms, and their peoples to enjoy China's beautiful scenery as they tour the country. We also encourage successful Chinese enterprises to invest abroad. Thanks to the geographic advantages and economic complementarity, East Asia will become a key region in China's overseas investment, economic cooperation and trade. We stand ready to make positive contributions to closer cooperation and greater common prosperity in this region.

As an old Chinese saying goes, "A close neighbor means more than a distant relative". With mountains and waters connected, East Asian countries share extensive common interests. I am convinced that through our concerted efforts, cooperation between ASEAN and China, Japan, and the ROK will bear even richer fruits in the new century. East Asia is destined to have a more brilliant future.

Thank you.
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