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China, ASEAN Eye Further Cooperation
   2015-11-21 19:51:14    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Li Shaotong

A 2-day ASEAN regional summit is underway in Malaysia.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is leading the Chinese delegation to this year's event in Kuala Lumpur, and has been sitting down for talks with leaders from the various ASEAN countries to discuss future cooperation in southeast Asia.

CRI's Luo Wen reports.


Addressing the 18th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Premier Li Keqiang started by hailing the achievements in bilateral trade and cultural exchange against the backdrop of a global slowdown.

"During the downturn in international trade, bilateral trade volume between China and ASEAN in the January-October period reached 379.2 billion U.S. dollars, with mutual investment exceeding 150 billion U.S. dollars. The number of exchange students between the two sides exceeded 180,000."

Upon his arrival on Friday, Li Keqiang said China and the ASEAN countries have linked destinies, shared interests and feelings.

As ASEAN's biggest trading partner, Li Keqiang pledged that China will deepen diplomatic ties with the bloc.

"China always considers its relations with ASEAN as the priority in China's diplomacy with its neighbours. China firmly supports the improvement of ASEAN's integration and the establishment of an ASEAN community, and supports ASEAN's central position in regional co-operation."

The ASEAN Community, comprised of political-security, economic and socio-cultural pillars, is expected to take shape by the end of this year.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN consists of 10 countries in Southeastern Asia.

Seven of them are continental or maritime neighbors of China.

And China was the first country to establish a strategic partnership with ASEAN, and the first non-ASEAN signatory to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

Malaysia holds the ASEAN rotating chair this year.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says China's continued support and contribution to regional initiatives are proof of its commitment to the region.

"China's continuous support for ASEAN-China co-operation is self-evident. Further, China's substantial contribution to regional initiatives, including closer ASEAN integration, to the master plan on ASEAN connectivity, as well as to narrow the development divide within ASEAN through the initiative of ASEAN integration, are further testimony to China's commitment to the region."

Discussions at Saturday's meeting also focused on ways to upgrade the China-ASEAN free trade area, promote Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and implement the China-proposed 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative.

For CRI, I'm Luo Wen.



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