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Zhang Gaoli Attends Opening Ceremony of the 11th China-ASEAN Expo and Delivers a Speech

In the morning of September 16, 2014, the 11th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit opened in Nanning, Guangxi Province. Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech.

Zhang Gaoli said that China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) enjoy geographical proximity, close blood ties, cultural affinity, close business ties and interconnected interests and therefore, are natural partners of cooperation. The Chinese government attaches great importance to developing friendly cooperation with the ASEAN. While staying committed to forging friendship and partnership with our neighbors, we will develop the bilateral relations under the principle of "amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness". China will insist on giving priority to the ASEAN in its neighborhood diplomacy and work hand in hand with the ASEAN to further forge sound, stable and dynamic China-ASEAN relations.

Zhang Gaoli said that during President Xi Jinping’s visit to ASEAN countries last October, he made cooperative proposals such as building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the China-ASEAN community of shared destiny through the joint efforts of China and the ASEAN. Premier Li Keqiang put forward the "2+7 cooperation framework" at the China-ASEAN Summit last year. We should actively implement the consensuses reached by leaders of the two countries to jointly create a splendid new future for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. First, work hard to deepen political mutual trust. China is willing to negotiate and sign a treaty with ASEAN countries on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, so as to provide legal and institutional guarantee for China-ASEAN friendship from generation to generation. Second, work hard to improve the quality and performance of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA). We welcome the official launch of negotiation between the two sides on upgrading the FTA and will continue to promote the establishment of industrial zones and economic and trade cooperation zones in ASEAN countries, and we welcome ASEAN countries to set up industrial parks in China as well. Third, work hard to strengthen the construction of connectivity. We should focus on key corridors, key links and key projects to build a safe and efficient integrated connectivity network. We should actively push forward the preparation for the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to strengthen cross-border cooperation in financial services. Fourth, work hard to conduct maritime cooperation. We will exchange views on designating next year as the "Year of China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation" and discuss setting up an exchange and cooperation mechanism between maritime law enforcement agencies. We should make full use of the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund to boost exchanges and cooperation in maritime economy, maritime connectivity and other fields. Fifth, work hard to push forward sub-regional cooperation and deepen the Pan-Beibu Gulf economic cooperation. We should actively push forward the building of the Nanning-Singapore Economic Corridor and discuss the establishment of dialogue and cooperation mechanism with countries along the Mekong River. Sixth, work hard to increase people-to-people and cultural exchanges. China will develop closer cooperation with ASEAN countries in education, culture, science and technology, environmental protection, tourism, health care and other fields, and jointly make the activities of the Year of China-ASEAN Cultural Exchange a success.

Zhang Gaoli pointed out that the peace and stability of the South China Sea concerns regional development and prosperity and the well-being of the people, hence serving the common interests of all the countries in the region. As China firmly upholds its territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests and national security, it is always committed to peacefully solving disputes with countries directly concerned through consultations and negotiations on the basis of respect for history and international law. China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in a comprehensive and effective manner, actively advance the consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, enhance dialogue and communication, promote practical cooperation and build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loog of Singapore, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, Vice President Bounnhang Vorachit of Laos, Vice President U Nyan Tun of Myanmar, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn of Thailand and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh of Viet Nam attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches respectively.

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