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Equality, Mutual Trust and Win-win Cooperation: Li Zhaoxing Talks about Premier Wen Jiabao's Visit to Laos

From November 28 to 30, 2004, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council paid a formal visit to Laos at invitation and attended the 8th Leadership Meeting between ASEAN and China, Japan and Korea (10+3), the Leadership Meeting between ASEAN and China (10+1) and the 6th Meeting of Leaders of China, Japan and Korea. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing received interview of accompanying Chinese journalists on the delegation's way back to China.

Li said that the visit lasted for about 50 hours during which Premier Wen attended 27 activities, raised 21 initiatives on China-Laos relations and regional cooperation in East Asia and signed or issued with all parties concerned 12 agreements and documents, achieving fairly fruitful results.

Deepening China-Laos Friendship and Promoting Friendly Cooperation

Li said that during his visit to Laos Premier Wen raised four suggestions on promoting bilateral cooperation, i.e. maintaining high-level exchanges, deepening economic and trade cooperation, strengthening collaboration in non-traditional security areas and regional affairs and continuing with training of government officials to exchange experience in running the country and managing political affairs. With regard to bilateral cooperation, Premier Wen also suggested that the economic and technological assistance provided by China to Laos should be combined with the efforts to raise Laos' capacity to develop its economy independently, which is of great guiding significance to the future economic and technological cooperation between China and other developing countries. During the visit, the two countries also signed 5 cooperation agreements. As a friendly neighbor of China and the rotating chairman of ASEAN, Laos regarded Premier Wen's visit and attending of the meetings as an indication of support and encouragement for the Lao government and people, attached great importance to the visit of Premier Wen and warmly received him. Laos highly commented on the suggestions raised by Premier Wen and noted that it will cooperate will China closely to implement the consensus reached by both sides. Premier Wen's visit to Laos has deepened the friendship and promoted the friendly cooperation between the two countries.

China-ASEAN Relations Enter into a New Stage

Li pointed out that when attending the leadership meeting of China and ASEAN, Premier Wen summarized the experience of developing relations between China and ASEAN and raised the basic principle of "equality, mutual trust and win-win cooperation" to guide the long-term development of bilateral ties, stressing that both sides should respect instead of conflicting with each other, trust instead of suspecting each other, cooperate instead of competing in a hostile manner with each other and focus on achieving a win-win result instead of building one's prosperity at the cost of another country. Premier Wen also put forward 10 initiatives on bilateral cooperation in the political, economic and trade, security, cultural and other fields. The speech of Premier Wen found strong echo among the leaders of ASEAN member countries. Many leaders said that China is a responsible country and reliable partner and China's development brings about interest and opportunities to ASEAN. They believe that the suggestions raised by Premier Wen are practical and workable, indicating that they will work with China to implement the suggestions.

During the meeting, both sides issued the Action Plan to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity to draw a blueprint for China-ASEAN cooperation in all fields in the next five years, showing that the bilateral ties are getting increasingly comprehensive, systematic, standardized and practical. Both sides also signed the Agreement on Trade in Goods under the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between China and ASEAN and the Agreement on China-ASEAN Dispute Settlement Mechanism, scoring great progress in building the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. Leaders of all the ASEAN member countries unanimously recognized the complete market economy status of China.

Li said that the healthy, rapid and all-round development of China-ASEAN relations nowadays is hard-won. China has always been taking a sincere attitude and working in a down-to-earth manner to push forward bilateral relations. The consensus reached at the meeting should be attributed to the joint efforts of both sides, evidencing that China-ASEAN relations have made new headways and entered into a new stage.

Guiding the Direction of East Asia Cooperation

Li said that when attending the Leadership Meeting between ASEAN and China, Japan and Korea, Premier Wen pointed out that the East Asian Community is the long-term goal of 10+3 cooperation and a step-by-step process during which ASEAN should insist on playing a leading role and the principle of building common consensus, maintaining appropriate pace of progress, setting up sound foundation, moving ahead in a down-to-earth manner, openness and transparency and all-inclusiveness should be followed. Premier Wen also called on launching the academic study on the feasibility of East Asia Free Trade Area, establishing the East Asia joint technological R&D mechanism, holding Asia Art Festival, organizing a conference on the joint study of East Asia cooperation and conducting cooperation in marine security. Such strategic and practical suggestions took care of the concerns of all parties and received positive comments and responses from all the leaders.

Promoting the Tripartite Cooperation among China, Japan and Korea

LI said that at the tripartite meeting, Premier Wen emphasized that to ensure the sustained, stable, comprehensive and deep development of China, Japan and Korea cooperation, the three sides should take the overall trend of cooperation in East Asia into account, build a sense of responsibility for this region, make use of their advantages, develop common consensus and insist on following the road of win-win cooperation. Premier Wen raised the initiatives on enhancing investment and cooperation of media among the three countries and holing regular dialogues on the regional cooperation policies. The leaders of Japan and Korea paid high attention and made positive responses to the opinions and initiatives of Premier Wen. The meeting adopted the Report on the Cooperation Progress among China, Japan and Korea and the Strategy for Actions on the Cooperation among China, Japan and Korea, drawing a detailed plan for the future cooperation among the three countries.

Li noted that during the visit and attending of the meetings, Premier Wen Jiabao held bilateral meetings with the leaders of a dozen of countries including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Burma, Brunei, the Philippines, New Zealand, India, Japan and Australia and exchanged ideas and reached wide common consensus with them on bilateral ties and cooperation in key areas.

Li pointed out that Premier Wen paid the visit and attended the meetings in the spirit of "equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation", illustrated China's diplomatic principle of "bringing harmony, security and prosperity to neighbors" with tangible actions, made our neighboring countries once more feel the sincerity of China and the opportunities brought about by China's development and achieved the goal of strengthening China-Laos all-round cooperation, deepening China-ASEAN strategic partnership and promoting East Asia 10+3 cooperation and the cooperation among China, Japan and Korea.

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