Excerpts from the Remarks by H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China at the 17th ASEAN-China Summit on 13 November 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

source:ASEAN-China Centre

ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) would like to share some excerpts from the remarks of H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of PRC, at the 17th ASEAN-China Summit on 13 November 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, to highlight China's views and positions on ASEAN-China relations as follows:

On past developments:

"Last year, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership. In recent years, the friendly and cooperative relations between us have witnessed sustained and steady growth and become a flagship of East Asia cooperation. While reviewing our achievements, we have taken a longer view and come up with such major initiatives as to build the China-ASEAN community of shared destiny and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. We have also decided to implement the "2+7 cooperation framework", which refers to the two-point political consensus on promoting political and security cooperation and economic development in parallel, and the seven priority areas that include the political field, business, connectivity, finance, maritime cooperation, security and the people-to-people, scientific and environmental field. This has charted the course of our relations in the years to come."

"Over the past year, relations between China and ASEAN have made big headway. Despite sluggish global economic recovery, two-way trade in the first three quarters of this year reached USD 346.6 billion, up 7.5% year on year. We agreed to launch negotiations on an upgraded FTA and the first round of talks was held. Together we put in place an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and China and all ten ASEAN countries will become AIIB's founding members. We worked hard to advance people-to-people exchanges and staged spectacular events for the China-ASEAN Cultural Exchange Year. We also launched the Network of ASEAN-China Think-Tanks. Such progress has been made thanks to the strong dynamism of China-ASEAN cooperation, and will herald an even brighter future for China-ASEAN relations."

On present and future developments:

"The China-ASEAN strategic partnership has entered a new historical era, presenting the two sides with rare opportunities for cooperation across the board. The Chinese government takes ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy and firmly supports the building of the ASEAN Political-Security Community, Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community as well as ASEAN centrality in East Asia cooperation. China will work with ASEAN countries to expand practical cooperation in all areas, continue to deepen the integration of interests of the two sides on the basis of the 2+7 framework and build a closer community of shared destiny between China and ASEAN with a view to taking our relations to a new height. To this end, I wish to make the following proposals:

First, we need to work closely to develop a grand strategy for the growth of China-ASEAN relations. To guide the future growth of our relations, we should start formulating as early as possible the third plan of action (2016-2020) of the China-ASEAN Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. China is willing to offer ASEAN countries USD 10 billion of concessional loans to boost practical cooperation in various fields between the two sides. On top of our commitment last year, we will provide ASEAN with another RMB 50 million of assistance gratis to support ASEAN community building. Stronger bilateral cooperation between China and ASEAN countries will also be conducive to ASEAN community building. China is willing to negotiate and conclude with ASEAN a treaty of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. In this regard, we suggest the two sides continue to make good use of mechanisms such as senior officials' meetings and establish a working group. To promote subregional development in ASEAN, China will respond positively to the initiative of Thailand and will explore the establishment of a Lancang-Mekong River dialogue and cooperation mechanism under the ASEAN Plus China framework. We plan to hold a foreign ministers' meeting and a meeting of senior foreign affairs officials on this matter at an appropriate time next year. China will take an active part in East Asia cooperation on poverty reduction. Next year, China will offer less-developed ASEAN countries RMB 3 billion of assistance gratis to support efforts at narrowing the development gap within ASEAN.

Second, we need to work together to build an upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. An improved China-ASEAN FTA will not only boost economic and trade cooperation between the two sides, but also lay the groundwork for the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). Under the principle of mutual benefit, China will work with ASEAN countries to advance negotiations on the upgraded version of the FTA and hopefully to conclude the negotiations before the end of 2015. China will, with a more open attitude, explore with ASEAN a model of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list in negotiating an investment treaty. In the coming three years, China will set aside RMB30 million in support of economic and technical cooperation under the FTA framework. China is also willing to work with ASEAN countries to build trans-border economic cooperation zones and industrial parks. The two sides may strengthen research and cooperation in such areas as harmonization of FTA rules and standards, industrial integration and SMEs cooperation.

Third, we need to speed up the building of the basic connectivity network. A connectivity network is the prerequisite for the free flow of trade and investment. We should continue to coordinate air, land and maritime transportation routes, and strengthen the planning and building of connectivity in the areas of telecommunications, power, and cyberspace. We should focus on improving the soft environment such as customs clearance facilitation, market regulation and standard and norm setting. The two sides may continue to jointly promote the early operation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to provide financial support to infrastructure development in the region. China has announced the establishment of the Silk Road Fund to support connectivity development on a priority basis. China will start fund-raising for the second phase of the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund totaling USD 3 billion. The China Development Bank will also set up a USD10 billion special loan on China-ASEAN infrastructure development. After years of development, China now has a strong capacity in infrastructure development and Chinese equipment is of high quality. We encourage competitive Chinese producers of iron and steel, cement and plate glass, etc. to shift their operation to ASEAN countries to meet the local need of infrastructure development through investment, leasing and loan lending so as to achieve mutual benefit.

Fourth, we need to foster new highlights in maritime cooperation. China proposes the building of a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which will facilitate China-ASEAN maritime cooperation. China proposes next year be designated as the year of China-ASEAN maritime cooperation. The two sides may discuss the holding of such events as a maritime cooperation forum attended by maritime ministers of relevant countries, more dialogue and cooperation between the maritime law-enforcement bodies and the establishment of a maritime cooperation center. China welcomes and appreciates the finalization of the Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation Action Roadmap with the support of the Asian Development Bank, and is willing to continue the practical cooperation with all parties. China will work with ASEAN countries to implement well the projects sponsored by the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund in 2014. And we welcome ASEAN countries to actively apply for projects for 2015.

Fifth, we need to ensure "double security" in traditional and nontraditional areas. To enhance our strategic trust, China welcomes ASEAN defense ministers to attend the Informal ASEAN-China Defense Ministers' Meeting in China next year. The two sides may discuss the establishment of a China-ASEAN defense hotline and hold joint exercises. We should continue to promote cooperation in nontraditional security areas. We welcome the signing of the MOU on Arrangements for Disaster Management Cooperation between the two sides. China has already provided RMB 50 million of disaster relief assistance. We look for an early determination of cooperation projects and their proper implementation.

Sixth, we need to actively explore new areas of cooperation in people-to-people exchanges, science and technology and environmental protection. People-to-people exchange facilitates cooperation, and cooperation among the peoples will strengthen the basis of state-to-state relations. China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to develop an action plan for our cultural cooperation and support Myanmar's efforts for a successful closing ceremony of the China-ASEAN Cultural Exchange Year. We will establish the second batch of the China-ASEAN Education and Training Centers and redouble our efforts to ensure the success of the China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week. China will set up new agricultural technology demonstration centers in ASEAN countries and carry out cooperation on rural poverty reduction and training programs for one hundred public health professionals. We are willing to work with ASEAN countries to promote implementation of the "Science and Technology Partnership Program" and support 100 young scientists from ASEAN countries to conduct short-term research in China in the next three years. China proposes the launch of the formulation of the China-ASEAN Strategy on Environmental Protection Cooperation (2016-2020) and the sharing of fruits of scientific innovation and ecological development to improve the well-being of people in the region, accelerate poverty reduction and benefit people on both sides."

(Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC Website at www.fmprc.gov.cn)