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RCEP negotiations to be wrapped up soon

Updated: Nov 13,2018 3:24 PM

Premier Li Keqiang met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore on Nov 12.

“I experienced a thunderstorm as the plane was landing. However, Singapore is the land of wisdom that drove away the rain and clouds upon my arrival,” Premier Li said in response to Lee’s remarks.

“There are currently dark clouds on the horizon, along with intermittent lightning strikes. The whole world is undergoing a slew of changes in terms of international cooperation and international frameworks. We’ll have to cross the river by feeling the stones, accepting challenges with a positive outlook and setting the right course for development with a forward-looking attitude,” Lee once said.

The Premier said, “The global situation is constantly changing. However, the evolution of human civilization is crystal clear — human beings have what it takes to deal with the twists and turns along the way, be it disruptions, storms, or the like.”

Lee echoed, “As long as we have confidence in making the right decisions.”

“Confidence is important,” Premier Li added. “The pressing matter is that we have to act on that. Negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are two significant moves to underpin our confidence.”

COC, put together on the basis of the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea (DOC), is the key to upholding security and stability in the South China Sea, the Premier said.

“China is willing to join hands with concerned nations to propel the negotiations on COC and jointly uphold the security and stability of this region,” the Premier said.

Speaking of the ongoing RCEP negotiations, Premier Li said, “Against the backdrop of the complicated situation of the global economy and the impaired free trade, RCEP is of great significance to safeguarding the free trade system and economic globalization with WTO at the core. China is willing to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible, along with all concerned nations under the principle of mutual respect, understanding and accommodation.”

RCEP is a historic regional cooperation protocol based on the rules of WTO, the Premier added, “According to the talks I already had with concerned state leaders, China will engage in active negotiations with certain countries during the meeting, in a bid to arrive at a collectively received plan with immediate effect. We should work to push the meeting forward with practical momentum for further progress.”

“We attach great importance to the practical conclusion of the RCEP negotiations. We believe we’re getting there, with substantial progress made this year,” Lee said.

Premier Li said, “With dark clouds and lightning hovering, we should offer a positive signal to the world — the dark clouds will soon vanish as long as we make active moves with an optimistic attitude.”

“We believe the sun will beam down us soon,” Lee echoed.