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Li Keqiang Attends 19th China-ASEAN Summit, Emphasizing to Build up Confidence, and Forge Ahead to Push China-ASEAN Relations for More Comprehensive and In-depth Development

On the morning of September 7, 2016 local time, Premier Li Keqiang attended at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos the 19th China-ASEAN (10+1) Summit to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations. Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos co-chaired the meeting. Leaders of the ten ASEAN countries were present.

Li Keqiang expressed in his speech that China-ASEAN relations have endured the test of vicissitude in the international situation and set an example for countries of different sizes to treat each other as equals and jointly seek development. During the past 25-year-long development course of bilateral relations, both sides adhered to putting "trust" as foundation, trusted each other and supported each other; valued "righteousness" by insisting to be good neighbors that help each other in times of crisis and good partners with common development; utilized "benefit" as a propeller to seek common development, achieved leapfrog development of economic and trade cooperation, enlarged the cake of common interests and formed a win-win cooperation pattern of mutual dependence; cherished "harmony", adhered to the principle of openness, inclusiveness and seeking common ground while shelving differences, spread the philosophy of good neighborliness and friendliness, insisted to properly resolve disputes through dialogue and consultation, and made peace and stability the theme of bilateral relations.

Li Keqiang put forward five proposals regarding the development of China-ASEAN relations:

First, write a new chapter of China-ASEAN relations. Both sides should enhance the docking of development goals and approaches and continue to build a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny. Both sides should stick to the "2+7 cooperation framework" and the third plan of action (2016-2020) of the China-ASEAN Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity as guidance to deepen practical cooperation in various fields and constantly expand common interests.

Second, build a new platform for cooperation in political security. China is willing to discuss and sign the "Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation" with ASEAN countries as early as possible to provide legislative guarantee to long-term bilateral friendship. China supports ASEAN's efforts in building the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. Both sides should achieve the institutionalization of the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers' Informal Meeting at an early date and boost bilateral defense and military exchanges. Both sides should push the ministerial dialogue mechanism on law enforcement and security cooperation for more practical development.

Third, cultivate new growth impetus for economic and trade cooperation. Both sides should promote the early implementation of relevant results from protocols regarding the upgrading of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), and further raise the level of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Both sides should advance the "Belt and Road" construction, promote connectivity cooperation vigorously, orderly and effectively, and push forward such major projects as China-Laos railway, China-Thailand railway and Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. Both sides should deepen cooperation in related industries and raise industrialization level.

Fourth, forge new pillar of people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation. Both sides should give priority to education and tourism cooperation, further expand the connotation of people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation, enrich the forms of exchanges, raise cooperation level and forge people-to-people and cultural exchanges into the third major pillar of China-ASEAN cooperation. China proposes to implement the "Upgraded Version of the China-ASEAN Double 100,000 Students Plan" and achieve the goal that the general scale of bilateral student flow reach 300,000 person-times by 2025.

Fifth, jointly open up new prospects for regional cooperation. The first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders' Meeting identified three pillars including political and security issues, economic and sustainable development and social, cultural and people -to-people exchanges, as well as five prior cooperation areas including connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economy, water resources, agriculture, and poverty reduction. The special fund for Lancang-Mekong cooperation was formally launched to support exchange and cooperation programs of the sub-regional countries.

Li Keqiang stressed that the past 25 years marked the "growth period" during which bilateral relations developed rapidly, and the coming 25 years will be the "mature period" for bilateral relations to improve quality and upgrade. China is willing to work with the ASEAN to build up confidence, review the past and look ahead into the future, and promote bilateral relations for more comprehensive and in-depth development in the next 25 years, so as to make greater contributions to lasting peace and common prosperity of the region and even the whole world.

Li Keqiang also stated China's stance on the South China Sea issue.

Leaders of ASEAN countries present expressed that Premier Li Keqiang sent out positive information and showed a positive attitude on the development of ASEAN-China relations. China is an important cooperative partner of the ASEAN. On the basis of mutual respect, both sides have set up the vigorous and most extensive dialogue relations and achieved substantial progress, bringing tangible benefits to both sides, and guaranteeing stability and development of the region. Grateful to China for its long-term support to the ASEAN integration construction and active role in the international affairs, they appreciate the leading role played by China in bilateral economic cooperation, support a series of initiatives proposed by China, such as the "Belt and Road" initiative, cooperation in production capacity and connectivity, and will further enhance economic and trade cooperation. They hope to accelerate the implementation of the negotiation results on the upgrade of ASEAN-China FTA and the negotiation process of the agreement on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This year witnesses the complete success of the ASEAN-China Year of Education Exchange. It is expected that the activities for the tourism year of 2017 will be held successfully to further promote bilateral people-to-people and cultural exchanges. They believe and look forward that ASEAN-China cooperation will yield more mutually beneficial results, benefit the two peoples and promote peace and development of the region and even the world.

The meeting adopted four documents including the Joint Statement of the 19th ASEAN-China Summit to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, Joint Statement between China and ASEAN on Production Capacity Cooperation, Guidelines for Hotline Communications among Senior Officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of China and ASEAN Member States in Response to Maritime Emergencies and the Joint Statement on the Application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea.

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