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Wen urges closer cooperation in East Asia

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday urged members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) to further promote cooperation in the region.

At a 10+3 summit, Wen asked countries in the region to focus on development problems and work for an early creation of East Asian community.

Wen arrived in Phnom Penh on Sunday afternoon to attend a series of meetings of East Asian leaders and pay an official visit to Cambodia.

The 13 nations have successfully handled the 1997 Asian financial crisis and properly dealt with the current international financial crisis, forged a rather complete cooperation platform, and made important achievements in maintaining financial and food security in the region, Wen said.

The Chinese premier called on the countries to strengthen capacity for crisis management, speed up the revision of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, a regional currency swap arrangement, promote the 10+3 macroeconomic research office to a regional institution, and groom Asia's bond market.

Wen urged the parties to work hard to boost regional integration, saying China supports talks for comprehensive economic partnerships in the region, the expansion of mutual investment and industrial convergence.

The Chinese premier also urged efforts to promote transnational infrastructure. He called on the leaders to strengthen policy coordination, expand financing channels, and build convenient and efficient infrastructure networks.

Wen urged the development of regional institutions in law enforcement, disaster management, the fight against transnational crimes and disease prevention. He also asked for more cultural exchanges and contacts between youths and between media organizations.

He said all ASEAN nations, as well as China, Japan and South Korea should continue to step up strategic communication, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and stay committed to maintaining lasting peace and common prosperity in East Asia.

Other leaders attending the summit agreed that the international financial crisis, which has triggered global economic downturn, has brought huge uncertainty and instability to the region.

They believed that the 10+3 countries should work together even closer so as to promote regional trade liberalization and economic integration, maintain financial, energy and food security, strengthen infrastructure construction, and expand cultural exchanges.

The members should also join hands in maintaining robust economic growth in the region and prompt balanced and sustainable development, the leaders said.

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