Xi Urges China-Asean Economic Ties, Peaceful Dispute Settlements
   2012-09-21 18:44:48    Xinhua      Web Editor: Fuyu

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the ninth China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit and 2012 Forum on China-ASEAN Free Trade Area held in south China's Nanning City on Friday September 21, 2012. [Photo: Xinhua]

Related: Chinese VP's Speech at 9th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit and 2012 Forum on China-ASEAN Free Trade Area

China and ASEAN nations have strategic importance to deepening economic ties and should resolve disputes through negotiations, Vice President Xi Jinping said on Friday in southwest China, where the ninth China-Asean Expo opened on Friday morning.

Xi made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the ninth China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit and the 2012 Forum on China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

China and the ASEAN must work more vigorously to advance connectivity. This is a measure of strategic importance that will promote intra-regional economic integration and enhance regional competitiveness, thus contributing to a sustained and steady growth in the regional economy, Xi said.

"China is ready to establish all-dimensional, in-depth and strategic connectivity with the ASEAN. Currently, we are actively preparing for the establishment of the Chinese Committee on China-ASEAN Connectivity and will in due course set up interaction and institutionalized exchanges with relevant ASEAN agencies," according to the vice president.

With a theme of "Win-win cooperation for common development," the expo is set to draw more than 2,000 domestic and overseas enterprises, and consolidate its place as an important platform to promote China-ASEAN trade. China is the largest trading partner of the ASEAN, while the ASEAN ranks as China's third-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade surged from 7 billion U.S. dollars in the early days of dialogue relations to 362.8 billion last year, registering an average annual growth of over 20 percent.

In 2010, China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) was launched. Covering a total population of 1.9 billion, it is the world's largest FTA zone of developing countries.

Myanmar's President, U Thein Sein, said, "As our economies are connected to each other, we are happy to see a healthy economy growing in China. The ASEAN welcomes the robust economic partnership with China.

"The market of the ASEAN and China is indeed a huge one. We both have our own distinguished characteristics and are endowed with natural and human resources."

China and ASEAN nations have not only developed robust trade relations, but also seen two-way investment growing steadily, with investment between the two sides totaling nearly 100 billion U.S. dollars by the end of July this year.

Xi pointed out that China has provided financial support to the ASEAN to the best of its abilities by setting up the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund and making concessional loans, facilitating economic development in ASEAN countries.

Despite the booming trade ties, disputes between China and some ASEAN countries remain. Xi reiterated that China hopes to resolve differences with neighbors concerning territorial land, territorial sea and maritime rights and interests peacefully through friendly negotiations.

"We are firm in safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and are committed to resolving differences with neighbors concerning territorial and maritime rights and interests peacefully through friendly negotiations," said the vice president.

"We will never seek hegemony, nor behave in a hegemonic manner," he vowed, adding, "By peaceful development, we mean to develop ourselves by upholding world peace and upholding world peace through our own development."

U Thein Sein noted that China and ASEAN nations are situated in a rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific region has become the center of gravity in international relations and trade. Hence, it is important to work together to promote peace and development in the region.

Lu Jianren, of the Asia-Pacific research institution of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the ASEAN is crucial to China, and individual member state's disputes could not affect the relationship between the two sides.

It is so important that China and the ASEAN join hands to strengthen cooperation and create a win-win situation under current international circumstances, he added.

The ASEAN is made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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