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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Li Keqiang's Attendance of East Asian Leaders' Meetings on Cooperation and His Visit to Myanmar

On November 6, 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on Premier Li Keqiang's attendance of the East Asian Leaders' Meetings on Cooperation and his visit to Myanmar. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin and Assistant Commerce Minister Tong Daochi introduced relevant information and answered questions from Chinese and foreign journalists.

First, on the attendance of the East Asian Leaders' Meetings on Cooperation

Liu Zhenmin said that from November 12 to 14, Premier Li Keqiang upon invitation will attend the Meetings of East Asian Leaders on Cooperation at Naypyidaw of Myanmar, including the 17th China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders' Meeting (ASEAN+1), the 17th ASEAN-China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) Leaders' Meeting (ASEAN+3), and the 9th East Asia Summit (EAS), and will pay an official visit to Myanmar after the Meetings. Premier Li Keqiang's attendance of this series of Meetings is an important action of China's neighborhood diplomacy, and is of great significance to promoting East Asia's regional cooperation and safeguarding regional peace and stability. During the Meetings, all parties will review the progress made in East Asian cooperation in the past year and put forward opinions and suggestions on the following development of the mechanisms. Moreover, all parties will make in-depth exchanges of views on some issues of common concern in East Asian cooperation. China will make in-depth introductions to its policies and propositions on East Asian cooperation, and put forward some new cooperation initiatives and proposals.

The ASEAN is a priority in China's neighborhood diplomacy, and the 10+1 (ASEAN+1) is the foundation of China's participation in East Asian cooperation. Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership, and China put forward a series of major initiatives such as the construction of the China-ASEAN community of shared destiny, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the "2+7 Cooperation Framework". At the 10+1 Leaders' Meeting this year, China will expound its policies on the development of China-ASEAN relations, reiterate its support to the construction of the ASEAN community as well as its dedication to the construction of a closer community of shared destiny with the ASEAN, and retrospect the positive development made by the two sides in implementing the "2+7 Cooperation Framework". China will advocate for the two sides to continue to enhance political mutual trust, continue to promote the joint construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, actively implement the "2+7 Cooperation Framework", and strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such fields as finance, marine, security, people-to-people and cultural engagement, and connectivity, so as to promote the China-ASEAN strategic partnership for continuous development. At the same time, China will reaffirm its willingness to make full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea with the ASEAN countries, so as to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The 10+3 (ASEAN+3) Cooperation Mechanism is the main channel of promoting East Asian cooperation. At the 10+3 Summit this year, China will emphasize good implementation of the 2013-2017 ASEAN+3 Cooperation Work Plan, careful review of the Second Report of the East Asia Vision Group (EAVG), and acceleration of the progress of regional economic integration, striding towards the goal of establishing the East Asia Economic Community by 2020. China will appeal for all parties to strengthen coordination in macroeconomic and financial policies, continue to deepen cooperation in such fields as finance and food security, promote the construction of Asia's free trade system, investment and financing system, currency stabilization system and credit system, enhance the endogenous growth momentum of the 10+3 Cooperation Mechanism, explore new growth points, and upgrade the level of practical cooperation. China will put forward some new and specific initiatives on promoting connectivity, economic and trade investment, poverty alleviation and development, and social and people-to-people and cultural development of East Asia.

Since the establishment of the EAS, its members have increased continuously and its influence has extended increasingly. The Summit actively boosts the strategic dialogue among the members, promotes cooperation in such six major fields as energy and environmental protection, finance, education, public health, disaster management and connectivity of the ASEAN, playing a positive role in enhancing mutual trust among the members and advancing regional cooperation. At this Summit, China will expound with a focus on the principled stance on the direction of the Summit's development, emphasize the necessity of sticking to the Summit's nature as a "leaders-led strategic forum" and adhering to the established principles such as the ASEAN playing a leading role, reaching consensus through consultation, and taking into consideration the comfort level of all parties, and support the act of taking the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Summit next year to seriously summarize the development achievement of the Summit in the past 10 years and scientifically design the future direction of the development of the Summit. China will appeal for all parties to well implement the Action Plan for Implementing the Phnom Penh Declaration, promote cooperation in the six key fields of the Summit, and strengthen cooperation in non-traditional security fields such as anti-terrorist, infectious disease management, climate change and disaster management. During the Meetings, Premier Li Keqiang will also hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the countries concerned.

Liu Zhenmin said that China expects the Meetings to hold up high the banner of development, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, properly handle differences and send out positive signals that the regional countries are working together to deal with challenges and cooperating for mutual benefit and win-win results. We believe that with the joint efforts of all parties, this series of East Asian Leaders' Meetings on Cooperation will yield positive results, further promoting regional cooperation as well as regional peace, stability and development in East Asia.

II On East Asian financial cooperation and China-ASEAN economic and trade relations

Shi Yaobin introduced that financial cooperation is important content of East Asian cooperation, and is also one of the key fields in the 2+7 Cooperation Framework proposed by Premier Li Keqiang. In particular, since 10+3 (ASEAN+3) financial cooperation was launched in 1999, it has conducted fruitful work in such fields as establishing regional financial aid and crisis prevention mechanism, strengthening regional economic monitoring, and promoting the development of the Asian bond market. In 2014, under the joint efforts of the 10+3 members, the revised Agreement of Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) completed signing and officially took effect. The agreement of upgrading the 10+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) into an international organization also completed signing this October, further injecting impetus into East Asian financial cooperation and playing a greater role in maintaining economic and financial stability of the region.

China has been a firm promoter and supporter of East Asian financial cooperation. Over the years, China has always been closely cooperating with East Asian countries with proactive attitude, jointly boosting the 10+3 financial cooperation mainly featuring CMIM and Asian Bond Market Initiative (ABMI). In view of the reality of backward development of infrastructure and huge financing gap in the developing countries of the region, China has proposed the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is aimed at better utilizing local savings for infrastructure development and pushing forward connectivity, and has received broad support and positive responses from multiple countries. Till now, the 21 Prospective Founding Members have signed the memorandum to set up the AIIB, creating favorable conditions for smooth advancement of the next-stage preparation. China will work with other countries to continue to strengthen cooperation, actively promote the development of regional financial cooperation, and make unremitting efforts to safeguard regional economic and financial stability, and to promote regional economic development and integration.

Tong Daochi said that the year 2014 marks the beginning of the second decade of the China-AESAN strategic partnership. Over the past decade, with enhanced political mutual trust between China and the ASEAN members, the building of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has accelerated and the economic integration has deepened, achieving the goal of mutual benefit, win-win results and common development.

China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation has been fruitful. First, the bilateral trade has grown steadily. The trade volume in 2013 reached 443.6 billion USD, increasing by 11 percent; the trade volume from January to September this year reached 346.3 billion USD, with a year-on-year increase of 7.5 percent; and trade to the ASEAN accounts for over one-tenth of China's total foreign trade volume. At present, the ASEAN is China's third largest trading partner, fourth largest export market and second largest source of import. Second, mutual investment has been continuously expanding. By the end of September, 2014, China-ASEAN two-way investment totaled 123.1 billion USD, with the investment of ASEAN countries to China exceeding 90 billion USD. Third, mutually-beneficial cooperation has been increasingly deepening. The two sides have cooperatively implemented a large number of projects in electricity, bridge-building, agriculture and manufacturing industry. Especially, China has set up the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund to provide the ASEAN with preferential financing support, which has promoted economic development of ASEAN countries and benefited local peoples. Fourth, the negotiations on the Free Trade Area have achieved positive progress. The two sides have held the first round of negotiations on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in September, 2014. The agreement of regional comprehensive economic partnership has also progressed from procedural consultations to substantive negotiations.

Tong Daochi pointed out that China and ASEAN countries are highly complementary in economy and have great potential for cooperation. Economic and trade cooperation with China has provided important support for economic development of ASEAN countries. We believe that Premier Li Keqiang's attendance of the Meetings are bound to further deepen China-ASEAN mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperative relations.

III. On visiting Myanmar

Liu Zhenmin said that China and Myanmar have been traditional friendly neighbors and maintained profound "Paukphaw" friendship. Over the past 64 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship, under the guidance of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, China-Myanmar good-neighborly and friendly cooperation has gained substantial progress, and the comprehensive strategic partnership was established in 2011. In recent years, the two countries have maintained frequent high-level mutual visits. President Thein Sein has come to China five times since assuming office, paying visits or attending international conferences, and he will come to China in a few days to attend the Dialogue Meeting of the APEC Connectivity Partner Countries. The bilateral cooperation in such fields as economy and trade, political parties, defense affairs, security, and people-to-people and cultural engagement has been constantly deepened, bringing tangible benefits to both peoples.

This visit of Premier Li Keqiang is Chinese Premier's first visit to Myanmar since the formation of the new Chinese government, and is of great significance to carrying forward China-Myanmar traditional friendship and developing the China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. The leaders of the two countries will exchange in-depth views on deepening the China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation under the new situation, hold discussions on strengthening the bilateral practical cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, promoting cooperation in such fields as connectivity, agriculture, electricity and finance for new achievements, and expanding friendly exchanges and cooperation in culture, youth, education, news and other fields between China and Myanmar, and exchange views on other topics of common interest. The two sides will also sign relevant documents on the bilateral cooperation. China expects that through this visit, the level of the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperation will be uplifted to a new high.

Tong Daochi said that China and Myanmar are highly complementary in economy, and enjoy great cooperation potential and broad prospects for development. Mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation has brought tangible benefits to the two sides, and conforms to the common interests of both sides. In 2013, the trade volume between China and Myanmar totaled 10.15 billion USD, with a nearly tenfold increase in ten years, and it rose significantly by 185.1 percent from January to September in 2014, reaching 17.75 billion USD. China is Myanmar's largest trading partner, second largest export market and largest source of import. Last year, the trade volume between Myanmar and China accounted for approximately three-tenths of Myanmar's total foreign trade volume. Myanmar is also one of the important foreign investment destinations of Chinese enterprises. According to the statistics of Myanmar, by the end of 2013, the accumulative contracted investment of Chinese mainland enterprises in Myanmar totaled 14.37 billion USD, taking up 32.5 percent of its inbound investment. These enterprises are the largest source of foreign investment of Myanmar. The Chinese side has successfully constructed major cooperation projects such as China-Myanmar Oil and Gas Pipeline Project and Taguang Taung Nickel Mine Project, making positive contributions to the local economic and social development. During Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Myanmar, the two sides will sign a series of documents on economic and trade cooperation, which will push forward the bilateral economic and trade relations to a new high and better benefit the two peoples.

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