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Deepening Strategic Partnership and Promoting All-Dimensional Cooperation
Speech by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at The Eighth China-ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos
2004/11/29

Your Excellency Prime Minister Boungnang,

Dear Colleagues,

It is a real pleasure for me to have the opportunity to come to the beautiful and ancient city of Vientiane to meet my friends again and map out the blueprint of China-ASEAN cooperation.

Since we signed the Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity last year, the China-ASEAN relationship has entered a new stage of rapid and comprehensive development. The two sides have made fresh headway in the cooperation in a wide range of areas.

Firstly, we have seen frequent political dialogues and enhanced mutual trust. China has unswervingly fulfilled its rights and obligations under the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. ASEAN issued a chairman's statement on Taiwan question and reaffirmed its commitment to the one China policy at the AMM Retreat, which has shown its sincerity in supporting China's peaceful reunification.

Secondly, we have seen stronger economic and trade ties with higher level of cooperation. Significant progress has been made in the building of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) with the conclusion of the Agreement on Trade in Goods of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Between ASEAN and the P.R.C. and the Agreement on Dispute Settlement Mechanism Between ASEAN and the P.R.C. and the smooth implementation of the FTA Early Harvest Programme. Furthermore, China-ASEAN Expo has been a success. The two-way trade volume has soared rapidly and is expected to reach the goal of 100 billion US dollars this year ahead of schedule. ASEAN has announced its recognition of China as a full market economy and its waiver of the three clauses pertaining to China's WTO accession. This represents ASEAN's valuable support to China, which will forcefully facilitate the building of FTA, economic cooperation and trade between the two sides. I wish to express our gratitude in this regard.

Thirdly, we have seen deepened security dialogues and productive cooperation. The two sides have been committed to implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed the ASEAN-China MOU on Cooperation in the Field of Non-Traditional Security, formulated mid-to-long term cooperation plans and conducted more effective collaboration in such areas as counter-terrorism, illegal immigration, narcotics control, law enforcement and criminal investigation.

Fourthly, we have seen the expansion of all-round cooperation in a wider range of areas. In addition to the four ministerial cooperation mechanisms in foreign affairs, economy, transportation and customs, the two sides have also set up such mechanisms for attorneys general and youth affairs ministers. The cooperation between the two sides has further deepened in finance, agriculture, transportation, information and telecommunications, public health, human resources, education, tourism, culture, science and technology and people-to-people exchanges.

The expansion and deepening of the China-ASEAN relationship has brought about tangible benefits to both sides and contributed to peace and development in the region.

Dear Colleagues,

The Chinese Government is committed to peace, development and cooperation. China pursues a policy of building good-neighborly relations and partnerships with its neighbors and securing an amicable, tranquil and prosperous neighborhood. It attaches great importance to strengthening good-neighborly and friendly ties and regional cooperation with its neighbors. ASEAN countries are China's close neighbors. To consolidate the strategic partnership for peace and prosperity with ASEAN and promote mutually beneficial and all-dimensional cooperation will remain a basic foreign policy of China in the long run.

China is now building a well-off society in an all-round way while ASEAN starts to forge an ASEAN Community. In other words, the development of both sides has entered a new historical stage. On the one hand, peace, development and cooperation which are the trends of our times have presented historical opportunities to us for common development. On the other, we are also confronted with grave challenges, as economic globalization and new scientific and technological revolution evolve in a rapid and robust manner and international competition becomes increasingly ferocious.

Against the new backdrop, we need to step up our cooperation by expanding its scope, giving it more substance, uplifting its level and fine-tuning its model. These alone would make it possible for us to meet the challenges more effectively and achieve common development. And only by so doing will we be able to overcome the difficulties and fulfill the historic task of ensuring national rejuvenation and a prosperous life for our people.

Dear Colleagues,

The healthy, rapid and comprehensive development of China-ASEAN relations sends us a very important message in itself, i.e. the two sides need to be committed to the principle of "treating each other as equals on the basis of mutual trust and seeking win-win results through cooperation". The two sides need to go for mutual respect rather than confrontation, mutual trust rather than suspicion, mutual cooperation rather than vicious competition, and a win-win result rather than prosperity at the expense of others. This principle, worded in eight Chinese characters, not only sums up the practical experience in developing the China-ASEAN relationship but also serves as a basic guideline for its long-term development.

In line with this principle, the Chinese Government will further deepen its strategic partnership with ASEAN and moves forward the all-dimensional cooperation based on mutual benefit and reciprocity. Today, we are to review and adopt the Plan of Action which aims at promoting the China-ASEAN strategic partnership and draws up an overall blueprint for China-ASEAN cooperation across the board for the coming five years. This is yet another significant step in the development of China-ASEAN relations, marking a more comprehensive, systematic, regularized and pragmatic relationship between the two sides.

In an effort to translate the Plan of Action into reality and work towards more fruitful cooperation between China and ASEAN, I wish to make the following proposals:

--We should increase high-level exchanges, enable the dialogue and cooperation mechanisms at various levels to play a more effective role, and enhance coordination and cooperation on major international and regional issues. China will continue to support ASEAN's leading role in regional cooperation.

--We should implement in real earnest the Agreement on Trade in Goods and the Agreement on Dispute Settlement Mechanism for the China-ASEAN FTA, and speed up negotiations on trade in service and investment in the FTA. To facilitate this process, the Chinese side proposes closer cooperation between the two sides on customs, inspection and quarantine.

--We should put in place ministerial dialogue on energy between China and ASEAN and make full use of 10+3 ministerial meeting on energy for dialogue and cooperation on stabilizing energy supply and ensuring transport security.

--We should press ahead with cooperation in five priority areas. The MOU on Transport Cooperation needs to be carried out conscientiously, and a China-ASEAN ICT Week will be held in China in 2005.

--We should step up cooperation in the field of non-traditional security including maritime security. The Chinese side suggests that the existing mechanism be fully utilized and dialogue on security strategy reinforced. China is willing to accede at an early date to the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.

--We should materialize the follow-up to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. The Chinese side stands ready to have a special senior officials meeting with ASEAN and set up a working group in a bid to launch cooperation in the South China Sea as soon as possible. The Chinese side is willing to positively explore with the countries concerned ways and means for joint development in the disputed waters in the South China Sea under the principle of "shelving disputes while going in for joint development" and on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

--We should intensify sub-regional cooperation. The Chinese side will sign with five countries in the Mekong Basin the MOU on the Joint Cooperation in Pushing Forward the Construction of the Information Highway in the Greater Mekong Subregion. China is willing to become an observer of East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) to increase its cooperation with countries in east ASEAN.

--We should enhance cultural and youth cooperation. The Chinese side is to sign the MOU on Cultural Cooperation with ASEAN. It proposes an exchange of young volunteers as well as efforts in language teaching, medical assistance and agricultural technology dissemination.

--The year 2006 will mark the 15th anniversary of the dialogue partnership between China and ASEAN. The Chinese side suggests that the year 2006 be designated the Year of Friendship and Cooperation between China and ASEAN with a series of commemorations. We would like to see a China-ASEAN eminent persons group to be established, which will take stock of and sort out our cooperation in a comprehensive manner, put forth policy recommendations and concrete measures for future-oriented cooperation, and submit a vision report to the Summit next year.

With a view to securing the success of various cooperation projects between China and ASEAN, the Chinese side will further contribute five million US dollars to the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund. In addition, the Chinese Government will set up a special Asia Cooperation Fund totalling 15 million US dollars to support the participation of relevant Chinese agencies in regional cooperation, especially that with ASEAN. As an indication of its support to ASEAN integration, China will actively consider the possibility of utilizing the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund in support of projects on human resources development under the Vientiane Action Programme.

Dear Colleagues,

To promote common development and seek mutual benefit and a win-win result are the starting point and destination of China-ASEAN cooperation. As an old Chinese saying goes, "A thousand mile journey cannot be completed without each and every small step, and mighty rivers and seas cannot take shape without each and every tiny stream". I believe that, as long as we keep up our efforts in a down-to-earth manner and forge ahead with perseverance, we will move forward and deepen the strategic partnership between China and ASEAN and open a new chapter of our all dimensional cooperation.

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