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Li urges China, ASEAN to uphold multilateralism, free trade

Last update: 04/11/2019
BANGKOK, Nov 4 -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday called on China and ASEAN to uphold multilateralism and free trade, resist risks and realise common development at the 22nd China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting in Bangkok, Xinhua news agency reported.

Since China and ASEAN established dialogue relations, they have brought benefits to each other and the wider region, Li said, adding that China always supports ASEAN's central role in East Asian cooperation.

Noting that the mounting downward pressure on the global economy brings new severe challenges, Li said China and ASEAN countries should jointly uphold multilateralism and free trade, withstand risks and realise common development.

The premier said China and ASEAN countries should stick to the principle of shared benefits and win-win outcomes, and speed up the work to upgrade economic and trade cooperation.

He also called for an early conclusion of the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) so as to lay the foundation for East Asia's economic integration, and the implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Upgrade Protocol to promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation.

Li said China and ASEAN countries should enhance strategic mutual trust and safeguard peace and stability in the region.

On the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which is an upgraded version of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), Li said he hopes all sides will actively carry forward the consultations according to the previously agreed timetable, meet each other halfway, and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Stressing that China will unswervingly pursue the path of peaceful development and an opening-up strategy of mutual benefit, Li said China is willing to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with the development strategies of ASEAN as a whole and its members as well.

He urged to accelerate the construction of the existing economic corridors, promote infrastructure connectivity cooperation, as well as support the building of the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area.

Li encouraged innovation cooperation in the areas including digital economy, artificial intelligence, big data and cybersecurity, and the establishment of a China-ASEAN partnership on the blue economy to enhance maritime exchanges and cooperation.

During the meeting in Bangkok, China and ASEAN agreed to make an action plan to implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025), issued statements on the Belt and Road Initiative, smart cities and media exchanges, and announced that the year 2020 will be the year of China-ASEAN digital economy cooperation.

Li arrived in Bangkok late on Saturday for an official visit to Thailand and a series of events including the 22nd China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting, the 22nd ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) leaders' meeting, and the 14th East Asia Summit.


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