Bandar Seri Begawan, 10 October 2013
Your Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam,
It gives me great pleasure to meet with you at the East Asia Summit (EAS). Over the past eight years since its launch, the EAS has upheld the spirit of openness and inclusiveness in East Asia cooperation. Based in East Asia, the EAS has acquired a significance beyond the region and become an important bridge between East Asia cooperation and Asia-Pacific cooperation. We need to carry forward this tradition, maintain the momentum of peaceful development, create an environment conducive to peaceful development, address major constraints on development and properly manage differences. This will enable all countries in the region to keep their focus on development and given priority to economic growth and better life for the people. Here, I want to make three specific points:
First, we need to enhance strategic cooperation and jointly rise up to challenges. I appreciate our host Brunei for preparing the indicative topics for today’s meeting, namely food and energy security, disaster management and climate change. These issues involve both traditional and non-traditional security. They are having a greater political, economic and social impact around the world. And these are the challenges that require our collective response. In the face of these issues, no country can stay aloof. In future East Asia cooperation, we should pay greater attention to and highlight the above areas, build consensus and work in concert.
China supports the release of a declaration on food security at this year’s EAS. We are willing to strengthen cooperation with relevant countries on earthquake and maritime search and rescue, and will provide disaster information, capacity building and other services to countries in the region. We are prepared to move forward East Asia research and cooperation on climate change and contribute to green and low-carbon development of the region. We stand ready for closer cooperation on public health, human resources and monitoring of regional epidemics. We are ready to actively participate in regional cooperation and provide assistance in various fields as our ability permits. We commend India’s efforts to revive Nalanda University and will sign up to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Nalanda University. We will work with other countries to encourage more cultural and people-to-people exchanges within the EAS framework.
Second, we need to deepen economic cooperation and promote regional integration. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership. Building on our cooperation in the past decade, I proposed at yesterday’s ASEAN-China Summit a “2+7 cooperation framework”, a proposal for wide-ranging, in-depth, high-level and all-round China-ASEAN cooperation in the next decade. China will work with the relevant parties to fully complete negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of 2015. China holds the view that regional economic integration should follow the principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency. There can also be exchanges and interactions between RCEP and TPP, which will be good for both.
Recently, financial markets in some ASEAN countries have experienced fluctuations, which, at one point, affected market confidence and capital flow. As a result, the task of ensuring financial stability and economic security has become all the more pressing. In 1997, China and ASEAN countries worked side by side to withstand the impacts of the Asian financial crisis together and launched the process of East Asia cooperation. In the days ahead, China will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with ASEAN countries and take various means to maintain financial and economic stability in the region, implement macro-economic policies in a coordinated manner and speed up the building of a regional financial safety net. There will be problems on the way forward, but as long as we pursue shared goals and work in unison, no obstacle is insurmountable.
China is a participant and advocate in advancing East Asia cooperation, and has received close attention from the outside on its economic development. As the Chinese economy enters a crucial stage of transformation and upgrading, we will stay committed to deepening reform in all respects, accelerate economic structural adjustment, allow innovation to play a bigger part in economic growth, unlock the potential of domestic demand, market dynamism and the internal driving force of development, raise the quality and efficiency of growth and promote sustained and healthy economic development. The further opening-up of China will bring about new development and market opportunities for regional economic and trade cooperation as well as global economic growth.
Third, we need to increase security mutual trust and work to safeguard regional peace and stability. Without peace and stability, there could be no development to speak of. Given the numerous economic cooperation structures in the Asia-Pacific, it is imperative to establish a regional security architecture that suits the realities in the region and meets the needs of all sides. We stand for a new security concept featuring comprehensive, common and cooperative security. We support candid dialogue and cooperation in the fields of traditional and non-traditional security, and will promote interaction between political security and economic security. Chopsticks are commonly used in many East Asian countries. One single chopstick won’t do the work of putting food in the mouth. To do the work, a pair of chopsticks are needed. And when a bunch of chopsticks are tied together, they won’t break easily. Every EAS member has a responsibility for security and stability in the region. Mutual trust and coexistence is our common belief as well as the way forward in today’s world.
Many collogues have mentioned the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. This issue involves the peace and stability in Northeast Asia. It is imperative that all parties stay committed to the denuclearization of the Peninsula, the peace and stability on the Peninsula and dialogue and consultation as a means to resolve relevant issues peacefully. China is firmly committed to upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and is opposed to the use of weapons of mass destruction. China will work constructively with all sides to maintain world peace and regional stability, and ensure the tranquil lives of our people.
As the South China Sea was mentioned just now, I would like to say a few more words on this issue. There are two points of focus. One is the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which has never seen any problems and will never see any in the future. Each year, over 100,000 ships from various countries sail safely through these waters, and China and ASEAN have agreed to ensure navigation freedom and safety in the South China Sea. The other is territorial disputes over some islands and reefs. More than 10 years ago, China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which stipulates that the relevant disputes should be resolved peacefully through consultations and negotiations between the countries directly concerned. The unilateral action of submitting bilateral dispute to international arbitration is against both the principle and spirit of the DOC. China will continue to work with ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the DOC and will work for positive and steady progress in the consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) on the basis of consensus building. China will continue to work with ASEAN countries to properly handle the South China Sea issue and uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea. As an old Chinese saying goes, “Respect a man and he will respect you more.” Only through mutual understanding and respect can we achieve further stability and development. The country we are meeting in, Brunei Darussalam, means “abode of peace”. I hope that the light of peace will be forever upon East Asia and that stability and tranquility will always prevail in the region.
The world is undergoing profound changes and Asia is gaining increasing prominence in both status and role. I believe there are two major reasons why East Asia is able to achieve what it has today. First, East Asia is free of war or chaos, and second, all East Asian countries are concentrating on development. At present, East Asia is faced with both unprecedented development opportunities and grave challenges. We need to adhere to the nature of the East Asia Summit as a leaders-led strategic forum, support ASEAN centrality, follow the principle of consensus building and accommodating all parties’ comfort levels, uphold openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, completely break with the cold-war and zero-sum mentality and work actively to promote harmonious coexistence and common development in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific for the greater benefit of the people of all countries.
East Asia is a region with the greatest potential and dynamism in the world. The prospect that East Asia holds has a bearing on countries in the region and affects the future development of the whole world. Let us join hands and give full play to the role of the East Asia Summit, continue to build consensus for cooperation and work hard to uphold regional peace and stability and promote economic development and better lives for the people of all countries so as to make even greater contribution to the peace and prosperity in the region and the world at large.