(Bali, 18 November 2011)
Your Excellency President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
I am delighted and excited to be back in the beautiful island of Bali after a period of eight years to attend the Commemorative Summit to Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Relations. This is the right time and place for us to express our thanks and appreciation to all those who have contributed their share to boosting the growth of China-ASEAN relations and who are working to advance these relations.
The establishment of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN in 1991 is a landmark event. It demonstrates how, with strategic vision and courage, our two sides followed the trend of the times and explored ways to promote regional cooperation, thus inaugurating the historic process of China-ASEAN relations.
- We have abided by the principle of mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs and worked to strengthen political mutual trust. The ASEAN countries follow the one China policy, support China's peaceful reunification, and accommodate China's concerns on major issues of principle involving China's sovereignty. China respects ASEAN countries' independent choice of path of development and values,supports ASEAN in handling disputes in its own way and opposes outside interference in ASEAN's internal affairs.
- We have pursued mutual benefit, mutual support and mutual learning in the course of cooperation to achieve common development. China-ASEAN trade is expected to surpass US$350 billion this year, which is over 40 times that of 1991. China is now ASEAN's largest trade partner, and ASEAN is the third largest trade partner of China. China has provided assistance and help with sincerity to ASEAN countries to help them boost economic development and improve people's lives. ASEAN countries have also provided active support to China. We have also shared experience and drawn on each other's strength in governance.
- We have demonstrated solidarity in times of adversity, met challenges head-on and turned them into opportunities. We worked together to fight the 1997 Asian financial crisis and put into place the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation mechanism. We have joined hands in countering the unprecedented international financial crisis and completed the building of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area on schedule. We have extended mutual sympathy and mutual support in fighting major natural disasters and epidemics and explored ways to establish effective early-warning, prevention and control, and rescue and relief mechanisms.
- We have remained firm in our commitment to peaceful coexistence and good-neighborly relations and endeavored to foster a secure and harmonious regional environment. We have resolved disputes and handled outstanding issues through dialogue and consultation. We are committed to the building of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. We cherish our traditional friendly ties and are dedicated to forging lasting China-ASEAN friendship.
Many leaders of ASEAN countries have told me that ASEAN's relations with China are the most practical, most extensive and most fruitful. I couldn't agree more. China and ASEAN countries are all developing countries. We pursue economic development and improvement of people's lives as the most urgent and important task, and place top priority on bringing tangible benefits to our peoples and our region. China and ASEAN countries enjoy geographical, cultural and historical proximity, maintain close contacts and exchanges in various fields, and have unique and favorable conditions for carrying out cooperation. Being open and inclusive and acting with great perseverance, China and ASEAN countries have maintained vigor and vitality.
As strategic partners for peace and prosperity, China and ASEAN have engaged in exchanges and cooperation in wide-ranging areas and at a level unseen in the past, and we have formed a community of common destiny sharing a common stake. The tremendous achievements made by China and ASEAN have contributed significantly to improving people's wellbeing in the region and the lofty cause of peace and development, and produced far-reaching impact on the progress of Asia and the world at large.
The world is undergoing profound and complex changes. The international financial crisis has entered its fourth year, and the current global economic and financial scene still gives no reason for optimism. Economic recovery in some developed countries lacks momentum, and those countries are plagued by serious financial and debt crises. Emerging and developing countries are ascending on the world stage, but taken as a whole, they are still not strong enough. Social turbulence has erupted in west Asia and north Africa. Global food, energy and environment challenges pose a growing threat to the sustainable development of mankind. The global economy may experience uncertainty and instability for a long time to come.
With sustained and rapid economic growth and social stability, East Asia is the most dynamic region in the world with the greatest potential for development, and ASEAN and China have won wide international recognition and attracted much attention for their important contribution. On the other hand, we should be keenly aware that in the era of deepening globalization, no region or country can prosper on its own and be immune to external shocks, and the severe external environment is bound to exert a negative impact on East Asia. At the same time, the weak links and problems in China and ASEAN will hinder our efforts to enhance our competitiveness. We should be both confident and sober-minded, seize opportunities to enhance cooperation and jointly tackle challenges. And we should keep our destiny firmly in our own hands and do not slacken pace or waver in our advance in the direction we have set for ourselves to pursue our goal. To promote the future growth of China-ASEAN relations, it is important that we observe the following principles:
First, we should enhance strategic consultation and mutual trust. China will never seek hegemony and is opposed to all hegemonic acts. We are committed to a policy of building good-neighborly relations and partnership with our neighboring countries, and we abide by the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. The disputes over the South China Sea between the relevant countries in the region have existed for many years. They should be settled through friendly consultation and negotiation between the sovereign states directly concerned. Outside forces should not get involved under any excuse. In 2002, China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and agreed to advance practical cooperation and work for the final conclusion of a code of conduct. This is the common desire of ASEAN countries and China. We stand ready to work actively with ASEAN countries to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, enhance practical cooperation and begin discussions on a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
Second, we should pursue economic development and social progress as a top priority. Both China and ASEAN countries are in a crucial stage of development. We should better coordinate development strategies, draw on mutual strengths and promote cooperation in more fields and at a higher level. We should enhance self-generating dynamism to speed up economic development, make life better for our peoples and advance the modernization drive to achieve full prosperity in East Asia.
Third, we should adhere to ASEAN centrality in promoting East Asian cooperation. China supports ASEAN integration and community building and welcomes a stronger and more influential ASEAN. We are confident that ASEAN is fully capable of leading East Asian cooperation. China will open a permanent mission to ASEAN next year. We will continue to support ASEAN and work with it, and we will continue to take 10+1 as the foundation, 10+3 as the main vehicle and the East Asia Summit as an important supplement in pursuing East Asian cooperation.
Fourth, we should uphold our common interests in the multilateral field. As developing countries in the same region, we hold similar positions and views, face the same situations and challenges, and pursue the same goals on many key issues. China and ASEAN are both strategic forces for peace and development. We need to closely coordinate our positions and work to build a fair and equitable new international political and economic order.
There is a solid foundation and huge potential for China-ASEAN practical cooperation, and we are well placed to achieve more ambitious goals. We should follow closely new developments, enhance coordination, establish and improve cooperation mechanisms, deepen cooperation in priority areas and open new areas of cooperation to achieve greater success. To this end, I propose that we take the following steps:
First, expand cooperation in trade and investment. We should fully implement all the agreements on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) and improve the FTA to create more benefits to the peoples and businesses of the two sides. China will continue to send trade and investment promotion missions to ASEAN countries and open an exhibition center for ASEAN products in Nanning, Guangxi to promote sustained and balanced growth of our trade. China will increase investment in ASEAN countries, step up efforts to transfer advanced and applicable technologies to them and work with ASEAN countries to enhance our economic competitiveness.
Second, give high priority to connectivity and other infrastructural development. To promote smooth and efficient cooperation in this priority area, China proposes the establishment of a China-ASEAN committee on connectivity cooperation, with the goal of realizing land transport connectivity between China and the ASEAN countries concerned at an early date. China attaches great importance to building a network of maritime connectivity with ASEAN countries. We are ready to take active steps to open shipping routes of freezer vessels, ro/ro and container liners with ASEAN countries and facilitate passenger and cargo transport by sea. The US$15 billion credit committed by the Chinese government in 2009 has supported over 50 infrastructure projects covering almost all ASEAN countries. Here, I wish to announce that China will provide an additional US$10 billion credit, including US$4 billion preferential loans.
Third, deepen financial cooperation. China is ready to take the following steps to intensify cooperation with ASEAN countries: increase cooperation between our central banks and exchanges among financial experts; increase access to each other's financial markets through mutual opening of branches of financial institutions; step up dialogue and cooperation between regulatory authorities; increase local currency swap and encourage the quoting of RMB and ASEAN currencies in each other's inter-bank foreign exchange markets; phase in a cooperation mechanism on inter-bank local currency clearing and promote bilateral local currency settlement; enhance the role of the China-ASEAN Inter-Bank Association to provide diversified financial services to Chinese and ASEAN businesses; and jointly improve the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization and other regional currency swap mechanisms to fully enhance East Asia's ability to conduct financial crisis rescue and ensure regional financial stability.
Fourth, expand practical maritime cooperation. China will establish a three billion yuan China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund. Our cooperation in this area may start with marine research and environmental protection, connectivity, navigation safety, search and rescue, and combating transnational crimes, and gradually expand into other fields, with the goal of developing multi-tiered and all-round maritime cooperation between China and ASEAN. China proposes that the two sides set up a mechanism to study the initiative and work out a plan for cooperation.
Fifth, advance cooperation in science, technology and sustainable development. China proposes that 2012 be designated the year of China-ASEAN science and technology cooperation and offers to host the first 10+1 science ministers' meeting in China. The two sides should move quickly to sign the China-ASEAN Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation and launch partnership program in science and technology. China will work to advance exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN in green economy, energy conservation, environmental protection, new energy and renewable energy.
Sixth, work harder to promote cooperation in social areas and areas important to people's livelihood. China is ready to set up ten vocational education and training centers to help ASEAN countries develop human resources needed in economic and social development. China proposes that the two sides establish a contact mechanism for disaster management and humanitarian assistance, share information and technology, and explore the possibility of setting up a China-ASEAN reserve center for disaster relief supplies. We also propose the opening of a China-ASEAN research center on traditional medicine. China is ready to set up a cultural ministers meeting mechanism with ASEAN. We propose that its first meeting be held next year to discuss an action plan on China-ASEAN cultural cooperation.
Today, the China-ASEAN Center is officially inaugurated. Both sides should give full support to the center so that it can facilitate the friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN.
China and ASEAN countries speak highly of the progress made in the growth of China-ASEAN relations in the past 20 years, and we have put forward important and constructive proposals on the direction and priority areas for our future cooperation. China-ASEAN relationship is solidly-based and has great potential and a promising future. China will forever be a good neighbor, good friend and good partner of ASEAN. We will work closely with you to implement all the agreements we have reached to bring more benefit to our people and make greater contribution to peace and prosperity in our region.