Wang Yi: Speed up RCEP Negotiation and March toward the FTAAP

On February 7, 2017 local time, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia jointly met the press in Canberra after the fourth round of China-Australia Diplomatic and Strategic Dialogue.

In response to a journalist's question on the relationship between the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Asia-Pacific regional cooperation, Wang Yi said that China stays positive and open to all regional arrangements conducive to promoting regional economic integration and safeguarding the global free trade system. There are various regional or sub-regional cooperation mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific, and some of which have shown increasing vitality while others have suffered setbacks, for example the TPP. Practice shows us that any regional cooperation should give more consideration to the demands of economic development rather than intentionally injecting political factors. Regional cooperation should take full account of the comfort zone of all parties and accommodate their different development levels, rather than having other countries accept the standards made by one or a few countries. The cooperation should uphold openness and inclusiveness rather than engaging in the so-called "small circle".

Wang Yi pointed out that whether the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the TPP or other regional arrangements are all potential approaches for achieving a greater Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). When encountering a road rock, there is always another way to go. The RCEP is led by the ASEAN, and it includes 10 ASEAN members and 6 dialogue partners. We hope to work with relevant parties, including Australia, to speed up the RCEP negotiation process and strive for an early agreement, so as to contribute to realizing the greater common goal of building the FTAAP.

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