Premier Li calls for new chapter of East Asian cooperation

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that China is willing to join regional countries in writing a new chapter for East Asian cooperation.

XinhuaUpdated:November 15, 2017

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that China is willing to join regional countries in writing a new chapter for East Asian cooperation.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (8th L) and other leaders attending the 12th East Asia Summit pose for a group photo before the meeting in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 14, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

In his speech at the 12th East Asia Summit held in the Philippine capital of Manila, Li urged East Asian countries to promote the building of an East Asian economic community.

The summit was hosted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and attended by leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, as well as leaders from South Korea, Russia, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Maintain peace in South China Sea via dialogues

In the speech, Li noted that the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilizing and seen a positive momentum for development because of the joint efforts from China and the ASEAN countries.

He hailed that the related countries in the South China Sea issue have returned to the right track of negotiations and consultations, and their relations had been constantly improved.

Noting that China and ASEAN started the consultations on the text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, Li said it fully represents the common will of regional countries that they should properly handle differences through dialogues and negotiations, and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

"It also shows the confidence, wisdom, and capacity of the regional countries to properly settle the South China Sea issue in order to make it a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation," said the Chinese premier.

Other leaders also pointed out at the summit that the situation in the South China Sea is easing up, the relations between some related countries are improving, and maritime cooperation is moving forward.

They hailed China's active role in these issues, and welcome the start of consultations between China and ASEAN on the COC text, hoping that the related parties can work jointly to safeguard regional peace and stability.

East Asian economic community

Also at the summit, Li said peace and stability remain the themes of the times, yet he also warned of notable instability and uncertainties. He added that the global economic recovery is not well established, regional hotspot issues flux and reflux, and non-conventional security threats, including terrorism, continue to spread.

Under such circumstances, Li said it is a difficult task to achieve peace and stability, economic development and the integration process in East Asia, and thus all these achievements should be cherished.

Referring to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held last month in Beijing, Li said the congress has made it clear that China will stick to the path of peaceful development, promote the building of a new type of international relations, and boost the building of a community of shared future for mankind.

He said China's development will only bring opportunities of development and prosperity to East Asian countries and the world at large, and will pose threat to no one.

China stands ready to work with all the countries present at the East Asia Summit to actively promote the building of an East Asian Economic Community and open a new chapter for regional cooperation, Li said.

Other leaders at the summit also expressed their willingness to enhance mutual trust, promote the opening-up as well as trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and strengthen connectivity.

Li's six-point proposal

While addressing the summit, Li also made a six-point proposal, concerning regional integration, sustainable development, social progress, joint responses to non-conventional security threats, innovation of security concepts, and improving regional security framework in a bid to advance cooperation under the East Asia Summit framework.

He said it is essential to carry forward the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, to move faster in implementing the upgraded China-ASEAN free trade area (FTA), and to strive for early completion of the negotiations on China-Japan-South Korea FTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership protocol.

Li said sustainable development must be promoted. China, the Philippines and Laos have issued a joint statement on poverty reduction. China will host a seminar on environmental resources management and continue to hold forums on clean and new energy. China is ready to strengthen maritime dialogues and cooperation with others under the framework of the summit, he added.

Li said China attaches great importance to cooperation on health and education with all parties. China is mulling over projects on cancer prevention and treatment as well as safety supervision of special food. Polytechnic education and training, as part of the cultural and people-to-people exchanges, will continue.

Li said China supports the summit leaders' statement on fighting terrorism and is willing to enhance anti-terror dialogues and cooperation with all parties to safeguard regional peace.

A common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable view on maintaining security should be adopted, said Li, adding that all parties should handle sensitive issues properly and settle differences through dialogues and consultation.

Li said regional security governance should be improved to achieve breakthroughs in the handling of tough security issues. China proposes that countries in the region conduct researches on improving the Asia-Pacific security framework.

The Chinese premier arrived in the Philippines on Sunday to pay an official visit to the country and attend the leaders' meetings on East Asian cooperation.