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Li Keqiang Attends the 15th East Asia Summit

On the evening of November 14, 2020, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 15th East Asia Summit (EAS) at the Great Hall of the People. The summit, chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and held by video link, was attended by the leaders of all the ten ASEAN countries, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, ROK President Moon Jae-In, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs of the United States Robert O'Brien.

Li Keqiang said the current international and regional circumstances are evolving at an accelerating pace. All countries are facing a lot of common challenges when COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, seriously impacting the world economy, challenging the multilateral trading system and exposing the deficiencies in global governance. Meanwhile, pursing peace and development and promoting openness and cooperation serve the fundamental interests of all countries and represent the trend of the times and the will of our peoples. We need to remain united to focus on development, expand cooperation and overcome difficulties all together.

Li Keqiang pointed out that over the past 15 years since its establishment, the EAS has been upholding ASEAN centrality, adhering to the basic principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of others, consensus building and accommodating the comfort level of all parties, and advancing political and security cooperation and social and economic development. The EAS should play an active role in resolving crises and enhancing cooperation under new circumstances. China proposes:

First, we need to work together to fight against COVID-19 and bolster public health capacity. We need to follow the guidance of science, consolidate the "firewall" against COVID-19 to contain its spread, and contribute to accessible and affordable vaccines by reinforcing cooperation on vaccine development, procurement and production. China has joined the COVAX, and it supports ASEAN to set up a regional reserve of medical supplies.

Second, we need to enhance policy coordination and form synergy for economic recovery. We need to build the network of "fast tracks" and "green lanes" to facilitate free flows of people and goods and maintain stable and unimpeded industrial and supply chains. We need to firmly uphold free trade and multilateral trade system, seize the opportunity of signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and improve the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.

Third, we need to advance practical cooperation and improve sustainable development capacity. China will fulfill the commitment of reaching peak carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality announced by President Xi Jinping at the meetings of the United Nations. We will maintain our cooperation on energies, education, finance and other key areas, and improve non-traditional security cooperation in the fields of climate change, terrorism and cyber security.

Li Keqiang emphasized that it is impossible to achieve development and prosperity in the East Asia without a peaceful and stable South China Sea. Since the beginning of this year, the South China Sea has become an important channel for economic and trade exchanges and transportation of anti-pandemic supplies among countries in the region. And the traffic has been smooth, safe and convenient. China remains firmly committed to peace and stability in the South China Sea. We will uphold and promote the international rule of law, and stand ready to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea with ASEAN countries as always and steadily advance consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. We hope that all countries would respect regional parties' efforts to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea, and jointly build it into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Participating leaders said, since its founding 15 years ago, the EAS has played an active role in promoting regional peace, stability and prosperity as a strategic forum under the guidance of regional leaders. Amid the severe challenges brought by COVID-19, all parties should join hands to fight against the pandemic, and take effective measures to ensure the fairness and accessibility of vaccine deployment, and enhance the regional countries' resilience in coping with public health issues. All parties should uphold multilateralism, support ASEAN centrality, strengthen communication and coordination, mitigate the pandemic's impact on the economy, and support the measures of promoting cross-border trade flows and smooth flows of industrial and supply chains, in order to ensure macroeconomic and financial stability, enhance interconnection, facilitate economic recovery after the pandemic and realize sustainable development objectives.

Outcome documents, such as the East Asia Summit Leaders' Statement on Cooperation to Promote Steady Growth of Regional Economy, were adopted at the Summit.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the Summit.

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