Chinese Premier calls for building East Asia community

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gestures during the 20th ASEAN China Summit in Manila, Philippines, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. AP

China called for joint efforts to advance construction of an East Asia economic community for regional integration and common development on Tuesday in Manila.

Premier Li Keqiang, addressing the 20th Asean-China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) leaders’ meeting, said it is a strategic goal of 10+3 cooperation to build such a community. It also meets the long-term, fundamental interests of the region’s people, he said.

Over the past two decades, Li said, 10+3 cooperation has become one of the most remarkable achievements in Asia, contributing to regional peace and development.

Li said it is important to seize the opportunity to push forward the construction of an East Asia economic community to make the region an engine for global economic recovery amid the rise of anti-globalisation sentiments and trade protectionism.

Construction of such a community should boost regional economic integration for common development, while putting Asean in a central position and adhering to consensus through consultation, the Chinese premier said.

He also said 10+3 cooperation is the main channel for promoting the East Asia Economic Community.

Li put forward a six-point proposal to do this involving trade liberalisation and facilitation, production capacity, infrastructure, finance, sustainable development and people-to-people exchanges.

As China keeps opening up, a more open and prosperous China will provide more markets, growth, investment and opportunity for cooperation for countries in East Asia and globally, Li added.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South KoreanPresident Moon Jae-in and leaders of the 10 member states of Asean also attended the meeting, presided over by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Participants traded views on such issues as the relationship of trade and investment and the environment and sustainable development. They issued a statement on food security cooperation and a declaration on the 20th anniversary of 10+3 cooperation.

The 10+3 mechanism was established in the late 1990s when Asean countries decided to enhance cooperation with other major economies of Asia.

Check out our Asean 2017 special site for important information and latest news on the 31st Asean Summit to be held in Manila on Nov. 13-15, 2017. Visit http://inquirer.net/asean-2017.

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