Bandar Seri Begawan, 10 October 2013
Your Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam,
Good morning. It is my great pleasure to attend the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and plan with you future cooperation in East Asia. I thank Your Majesty and the government of Brunei Darussalam for your thoughtful arrangements for the summit.
ASEAN Plus Three cooperation, born out of the Asian financial crisis and under which we tackled the impact of the international financial crisis, has played an important role in maintaining regional economic stability. Over the years, ASEAN countries, China, Japan and the ROK have made solid progress in cooperation across the board, and overcome difficulties through our own efforts, boosting the momentum of East Asia cooperation and contributing significantly to the growth of East Asia and the world. What has happened shows that our cooperation is successful and has indeed become the main vehicle and platform of East Asia cooperation. China appreciates the efforts of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) in promoting three-way cooperation.
East Asia, having registered great progress over the years, has become a main driver of global growth. The fundamental reason behind it is that East Asia has managed to stay away from war and conflict, allowing countries in this region to focus on development. It is important that all our countries stay committed to the goal of peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation, and give high priority to economic development and people’s well-being so as to ensure that East Asia cooperation will stay on the track of sound growth.
I wish to exchange views with you on deepening the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation and promoting economic integration in East Asia at this meeting.
Global economic recovery remains difficult and the prospects of the Asian economy still have uncertainties. The international community is watching closely whether East Asian economy will remain stable for the long run and continue to serve as a main engine of global economic growth. Therefore, as the key participants of East Asia cooperation, we, the ASEAN Plus Three countries, have on our shoulders an important mission. I propose we take steps in the following areas to strengthen ASEAN Plus Three cooperation.
First, we need to firmly uphold peace and stability in our region. East Asia is highly diverse and has a number of outstanding historical issues and disputes over interests. It is therefore essential to cherish the regional peace and stability we now enjoy and safeguard it in the same way as we preserve the harmony of our own families. China is ready to actively explore the possibility of concluding a treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation with ASEAN countries, observe the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and actively and prudently work towards a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC). By properly addressing and managing regional hotspot and sensitive issues, we may keep them from turning into bigger and more complicated ones. We stand for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and long-term peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. Countries should work constructively as partners to jointly manage and control tensions and differences, and uphold peace and stability in East Asia. Only in a peaceful and stable environment, can we fully seize the historical opportunity for East Asia’s development.
Second, we need to accelerate the economic integration of East Asia. Regional economic integration has been a leading trend of the world. Thanks to 16 years of hard work, ASEAN Plus Three has become the best developed platform for multilateral cooperation in Asia, and has gradually put in place a sound regional layout of industries and industrial chain. Yesterday, the ASEAN Plus China Summit produced an important outcome, envisaging a framework for wide-ranging, deep, high-level and all-round cooperation between China and ASEAN in the next decade. We are ready to launch negotiations as soon as possible to upgrade China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, advance connectivity projects such as the Pan-Asia Railway link, promote financial cooperation and financing platform building, enhance security exchanges, initiate a number of maritime cooperation projects and intensify exchanges in science, technology and environmental protection. Two rounds of negotiation have been held on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and we need to work hard to conclude the negotiations by 2015.
Third, we need to step up the building of a regional financial safety net. Given the recent volatility in the financial markets of some Asian countries, it is imperative to strengthen and improve the multi-tiered regional financial safety net, with a focus on strengthening domestic foreign exchange reserves, the regional foreign exchange reserve pool and bilateral currency swap mechanisms. China will work with other countries in the region on Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) to fully leverage its role, and explore the possibility of improving the use of local currencies under the CMIM. We will work to upgrade the ASEAN Plus Three Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) to an international organization and enhance the capacity building in economic surveillance and financial risks early warning. Countries, by taking a long-term perspective, need to work on a roadmap for future financial cooperation in the region and establish an Asia currency stability system, an Asia credit system and an investment and financing cooperation system so as to boost regional financial stability and further economic growth .
Fourth, we need to vigorously deepen cooperation in all fields. China supports the adoption of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan (2013-2017), which will give stronger guidance to the cooperation among member states. Countries should advance the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR). China will donate US$1 million to the APTERR Fund as pledged before the end of this year. Next year, China will continue to host the East Asia Business Forum and the ASEAN Plus Three High-level Symposium on Food Security. China will consider setting up an East Asia maritime cooperation platform and an East Asia modern agriculture training base, and promote the development of various think tanks in East Asia. Your active participation is welcome.
China’s fast economic growth over the past 30 plus years has brought benefits to East Asia and the world. Since the beginning of this year, confronted with a complex situation in the world economy and quite heavy downward pressure on our own economy, China has stayed committed to deepening reform, expanding opening up and promoting structural adjustment, with a view to boosting market vitality and internal driving force for growth. The Chinese economy grew by 7.6% in the first half of this year, maintaining steady growth on the whole. In the past few months, our economy has shown stronger momentum of steady growth. PMI and other indicators that reflect market expectation have been on a steady rise. Industrial value added, power consumption, business profits and other data concerning the real economy have kept increasing. The growth rate of fiscal revenue has gradually rebounded. With China’s GDP expected to stay above 7.5% for the first three quarters this year, a medium-to-high rate of growth, we have confidence in fulfilling the targets set out for economic and social development of 2013. China’s economy has entered a new stage of transformation and upgrading. We will rise to the challenges by firmly deepening reform across the board and expanding opening up. At the same time, we will advance a new type of industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization with Chinese features, so as to release reform dividends, tap the market potential and spark creativity. We will place more importance on the quality and efficiency of the economic growth as well as improving people’s wellbeing in the course of reform and development. China has the capacity and conditions to realize sustained and sound economic growth, which in turn will offer more opportunities to the development of East Asia and the world at large.
Hard work pays off, as we often say. Over the past 16 years since its inception, the ASEAN Plus Three has made solid progress in deepening cooperation and promoting stability and prosperity in East Asia. We have every reason to feel heartened by what we have achieved. Peaceful development is a blessing for East Asia, and ASEAN Plus Three is the anchor for East Asia’s peaceful development. China is ready to work closely with all parties to open a new chapter in East Asia cooperation.