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October 22, 2009

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Home » Business » Economy

China talks growth at summit

CHINA yesterday said it will seek to expand regional trade and investment at a meeting of Asian leaders this weekend and will discuss previously announced plans for a US$10-billion infrastructure building fund.

Premier Wen Jiabao will travel to Hua Hin, Thailand, tomorrow to attend the annual East Asia Summit, which brings the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations together with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

"China has been committed to regional economic growth through stable growth of its own and investment in ASEAN countries," Zheng Xiaosong, deputy director of the international department under the Ministry of Finance, said at a briefing.

Earlier this year, China announced plans for a US$10-billion fund for investment in infrastructure to better connect China with its southeast Asian neighbors.

The first phase of the project, to establish US$1 billion for projects such as roads, airports and other infrastructure, is now under way, Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said.

Xue Hanqin, China's ambassador to ASEAN, said the US$1 billion had already been raised for the fund, which will be disbursed through the China Import-Export Bank.

A free trade zone between China and ASEAN is on track to be completed by January 2010, according to Hu. Trade between China and ASEAN reached US$230 billion last year, representing 9 percent of China's foreign trade.

Leaders from China, Japan and South Korea said in a recent meeting in Beijing that they were committed to the development of an "East Asian Community" and would explore a free trade pact, as the rivals inch toward deeper regional integration.

China is also working toward expanding currency swaps and bond markets with the region, Hu said.

China also plans to offer assistance to the least-developed countries in the region for disaster relief and other emergencies, he said.


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