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Premier Li urges countries to spur regional growth

Hu Yongqi
Updated: Nov 16,2018 6:42 AM     China Daily

China is ready to work with other countries to boost East Asia’s security and development by safeguarding the rules-based international order and free trade, and promoting sustainable development and political dialogue, Premier Li Keqiang told the 13th East Asia Summit on Nov 15 in Singapore.

Regional free trade mechanisms are being accelerated, with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership concluding its negotiations in the near future, to further regional economic integration, Premier Li told leaders from 10 ASEAN members and seven other countries.

In the past 13 years, the summit has boosted understanding between participating nations and played a vital role in protecting regional peace, stability and prosperity, Premier Li said. To tackle new challenges and uncertainties internationally, friendship and cooperation should be strengthened along with equal consultations and wider opening-up, he said.

Premier Li called for boosting sustainable development, focusing on six major areas, such as the environment. China will convene symposiums on new energy and maritime management next year and is willing to conduct joint Earth science research with other countries, he said.

China is also willing to boost cooperation in anti-terrorism, climate change and cybersecurity, Premier Li said. A joint anti-terrorism drill was proposed by China at the summit.

Premier Li called the South China Sea’s stability vital for countries in the region. A code of conduct is expected to be finalized within three years to ensure peace, free trade and freedom of navigation and overflight, Premier Li said.

Leaders agreed to strengthen alignment of development strategies and enhance cooperation in sustainable development, regional connectivity and marine economy, a news release said.

Negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will be sped up to push forward trade liberalization and investment facilitation.

A number of documents were adopted at the summit, including a statement on developing smart cities in Southeast Asia.

The summit, proposed by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 2000, has 18 nations participating: 10 ASEAN countries and China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

Each year, the summit is hosted by the rotating presidency of the regional bloc as part of the leaders’ meetings on East Asian cooperation. It focuses on six areas: energy and environment, education, finance, public health, disaster management and regional connectivity.

On the sidelines, Premier Li met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.