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China shows sincerity, responsibility, confidence in East Asian co-op

CHINESE Premier Wen Jiabao's attendance at the ASEAN-related summits has shown the Chinese government's sincerity, responsibility and confidence in facilitating the East Asian cooperation, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said yesterday.

The summits related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are an important cooperative mechanism in the region. All the participants hope the summits can reach consensus and yield a substantial outcome, he said.

Leaders from East Asian countries have shown their confidence in and strong desire for cooperation in jointly tiding over the global financial crisis, despite the fact that the summits were postponed due to Thailand's political situation, Yang said.

East Asian countries are facing severe impact of the international financial crisis that is still spreading and deepening, but these countries have a common desire to strengthen cooperation and tide over the difficulties, Yang said.

China has always actively advocated and pushed forward the cooperation in East Asia, he emphasized.

The ASEAN members had hoped China could play an important role at the summits in pushing forward the cooperation in East Asia, so that the countries could tide over the current difficulties, he said.

Premier Wen had planned to make a three-point proposal at the summit for joint efforts to tackle the financial crisis and promote cooperation among East Asian nations, Yang said.

Firstly, it's an urgent task to cooperate in addressing the global financial crisis, focus the efforts on resolving the most serious and pressing issues, and try to minimize the negative impact of the crisis as much as possible.

Secondly, opportunities should be seized in face of the crisis to make the cooperation in various fields more substantial and vigorous, so as to push forward all-round regional integration.

Thirdly, with an eye on the common long-term interests, firm support should be given to the integration process in East Asia so as to promote regional peace and prosperity.

Premier Wen had also planned to announce a series of relevant measures at the summits, Yang said.

China plans to establish a China-ASEAN investment cooperation fund totaling 10 billion U.S. dollars designed to promote infrastructure construction that will better connect China and the ASEAN nations, Yang said.

Over the next three to five years, China plans to offer a credit of 15 billion dollars to ASEAN countries, including loans with preferential terms of 1.7 billion dollars in aid to cooperation projects between the two sides.

China also plans to offer 270 million yuan (39.7 million dollars) in special aid to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to help those countries overcome difficulties amid crisis, and to inject 50 million dollars into the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund.

China plans to provide 300,000 tons of rice for the emergency East Asia rice reserve to strengthen food security in the region.

China will also provide training for 1,000 agricultural technicians for the ASEAN nations in the upcoming three years, offer an extra 2,000 Chinese government scholarships and 200 Master's scholarships for public administration students from the developing member countries of the East Asia Summit over the next five years, and donate 900,000 dollars to the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Fund, Yang said.

The premier had also intended to exchange views with other leaders on the multilateralization of the Chiang Mai Initiative, the construction of the Asian bond markets, expansion of foreign currency reserve pools, widening bilateral currency swap agreements, and efforts to promote the construction of the ASEAN Plus Three free trade zone.

According to previous plans, after the summits, China would sign with ASEAN an investment agreement, which would mark the end of the negotiations on the free trade zone.

The China-ASEAN free trade zone, if established in 2010 as planned, would further strengthen relations between China and ASEAN and exert a significant and far-reaching impact on promoting cooperation among East Asian nations, Yang said.

He said that it is regrettable that delegates participating in the summits could not enter the venue after thousands of Thai anti-government protesters besieged the venue and blocked roads in Pattaya.

Under such a circumstance, the Chinese delegation had shown no fears, waiting in patience and calm, with a hope for the situation to change for the better. Taking a responsible attitude, China has kept contact with Thailand, ASEAN, Japan and South Korea, Yang said.

Premier Wen himself communicated and conducted coordination with leaders of relevant countries, making his best efforts even at the last minute, he said.

When Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told Wen over the phone the Thai government's decision to postpone the summits, Wen said that as a friendly neighbor of Thailand and the rotating chairman of the three countries that also include Japan and South Korea, China understands the decision and hoped Thailand will maintain political stability, social harmony and economic growth.

According to Yang, the Chinese premier also pledged China's unremitting efforts to push forward the China-Thailand friendly cooperation and China-ASEAN cooperation, as well as the cooperation between China-Japan-South Korea and ASEAN.

Wen said that China's policies and measures on furthering bilateral exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN in various fields will not be affected by the postponement of the summits.

The Chinese premier reiterated the above stance when meeting some ASEAN leaders at the airport before flying home, saying that as long as conditions are mature for the holding of the summits, China will actively participate in them, Yang said.

Wen's sincerity and confidence moved the leaders and were highly appreciated, the Chinese foreign minister noted.

Yang said China has genuine willingness, firm determination and concrete actions to boost the East Asian cooperation.

Although the ASEAN summit and other related meetings were not held as scheduled, China will keep close contact and consultation with ASEAN and other related countries, and honestly implement the cooperation plans and measures that had been decided, Yang said.

China is ready to stand together with East Asian countries in the face of difficulties and help each other to jointly confront the challenges, he said.

China believes that after ups and downs, the East Asian cooperation will surely embrace a more prosperous future, Yang concluded.


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