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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Li Keqiang's Attendance at the Series of Leaders' Meetings on East Asia Cooperation and Official Visit to Laos

On August 31, 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on Premier Li Keqiang's attendance at the series of Leaders' Meetings on East Asia Cooperation and his official visit to Laos. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin introduced relevant information and answered questions raised by Chinese and foreign journalists.

Liu Zhenmin introduced that Premier Li Keqiang will attend the 19th China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders' Meeting which is also the commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations, the 19th ASEAN-China, Japan, ROK (10+3) Leaders' Meeting and the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) from September 6 to 9 in Vientiane of Laos and pay an official visit to Laos. Premier Li Keqiang's visit this time is an important event of China's neighborhood diplomacy, which plays a significant role in deepening China-ASEAN relations, promoting regional integration process of East Asia, and safeguarding regional peace and stability.

At present, East Asia maintains a good momentum of development in general. This year is the first year of the establishment of the ASEAN Community as well as the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations and China-ASEAN Education Exchange Year. China-ASEAN cooperation, cooperation between ASEAN and China, Japan and the ROK, the EAS and other cooperation mechanisms have continuously achieved positive results. The newly-established Lancang-Mekong River cooperation mechanism undergoes smooth progress and China-Japan-ROK cooperation maintains a sound development momentum, injecting new impetus into regional integration process. Meanwhile, due to sluggish world economic recovery, East Asian countries face mounting downward pressure in economic growth. Non-traditional security threats prevail and uncertain as well as unstable factors affecting regional peace and stability still exist.

During the meetings, all sides will summarize and review the progress of East Asia cooperation over the past year and put forward views and suggestions on the further development of various mechanisms. All sides will also exchange in-depth views on international and regional issues of common concern. China believes that the meetings should focus on development and cooperation, so as to inject new impetus to East Asia cooperation and assist regional economic growth. Premier Li Keqiang will deeply elaborate on China's policies and propositions concerning East Asia cooperation and raise new initiatives on deepening practical cooperation under various mechanisms. Taking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations as an opportunity, China will focus on improving the quality of and upgrading bilateral cooperation, thus elevating East Asia cooperation to a new height as a whole.

In regard to attending the "10+1" Leaders' Meeting and the commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin expressed that the ASEAN is the center of East Asia cooperation and the priority of China's neighborhood diplomacy. Since the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations 25 years ago, both sides have continuously deepened political mutual trust and yielded fruitful results in practical cooperation. Bilateral relationship is now at a new starting point with new opportunities, and bilateral cooperation is stepping into the "maturity stage" of quality improvement and upgrade from the "growth stage" featuring rapid development. Both sides hope to further synergize consensus and deepen cooperation, so as to lift China-ASEAN strategic partnership to a new height. Since the beginning of this year, China-ASEAN relations have enjoyed an overall sound development. A series of commemorative activities marking the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations have been held, covering politics, economy and trade, education, youth, sports and other areas. Both sides are actively pushing for the implementation of the third Action Plan for China-ASEAN strategic partnership, and the agreement on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has come into effect in July. The first half of this year has witnessed a trade volume of 209 billion dollars between the two sides. China continues to be the ASEAN's largest trade partner while the ASEAN is the third largest trade partner of China. The 13th China-ASEAN Expo will be held in the middle of September in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region right after the leaders' meeting, which will further vigorously boost bilateral economic and trade exchanges.

At the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang will comprehensively review the achievements in the course of bilateral relations and sum up beneficial experience to continuously advance the implementation of the "2+7 cooperation framework". While proposing to consolidate and deepen political security and economic and trade cooperation, he will also call on both sides to build people-to-people and cultural exchanges, with education and tourism as priorities, into the new pillar of bilateral relations, so as to inject new vigor into bilateral cooperation. China will reiterate its policy of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation towards the ASEAN, emphasize its consistent support to the construction of the ASEAN Community, back the ASEAN's centrality in regional cooperation, and support the ASEAN to play a greater role in regional and international affairs.

With respect to attending the "10+3" Leaders' Meeting, Liu Zhenmin noted that the 10+3 cooperation, as the main channel to build the East Asia economic community and advance East Asia cooperation, will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. Since this year, the 10+3 cooperation has achieved positive outcomes in finance, food safety and other areas. The process of Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation continues to making headway; the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office has been officially upgraded to an international organization; the construction of the 10+3 Emergency Rice Reserve mechanism and negotiations on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement are steadily advancing; the Memorandum of Cooperation between ASEAN and Three Countries on Strengthening Tourism Cooperation has been jointly signed by various parties and related action plans have been formulated and actively carried out based on priority cooperation proposals of the Report of the East Asia Vision Group II (EAVGII). Recently, the 8th Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting among China, Japan and the ROK was held in Tokyo, maintaining the stabilization momentum of trilateral cooperation and injecting new impetus into the 10+3 cooperation as well as the East Asia cooperation at large.

At the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang will urge all parties to increase input and further identify the future development direction of the mechanism. Premier Li Keqiang will also facilitate the joint implementation of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan 2013-2017 and the EAVGII, support the early formulation of a new ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan, highlight cooperation in such fields as financial security, trade, investment, agriculture, poverty reduction, connectivity, production capacity and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and put forward a series of initiatives to push for greater development of the 10+3 and East Asia cooperation, so that all sides can march together toward the established goal that is the East Asia economic community.

In terms of attending the EAS, Liu Zhenmin stated that the EAS is a "leaders-led strategic forum". It gathers the ASEAN and major countries like China, the US, Russia, and India, who together account for over 50 percent of the world's population and economic aggregates. It also serves as an important platform in connecting East Asia cooperation and Asia-Pacific cooperation. Since the beginning of this year, EAS cooperation in all fields has advanced orderly and the Plan of Action to Implement the Phnom Penh Declaration on EAS Development Initiative is being actively implemented. China and Laos have jointly held the Fifth EAS Workshop on Regional Security Architecture, conducting meaningful discussions on further integrating and improving regional security architecture. Moreover, China has also held the Fifth EAS Earthquake Response and Relief Joint Exercise and the Workshop on Maritime Cooperation for Security in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The 3rd EAS Clean Energy Forum will also be held at the end of this year in China.

This year marks the beginning of the second decade since the establishment of the EAS. At the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang will introduce China's views on the future development direction of the EAS, emphasize the adherence to the orientation of the EAS as a strategic forum as well as adherence to such principles as ASEAN-led, negotiations for consensus and accommodating the comfort level of all parties, push all parties to continue implementing the Plan of Action to Implement the Phnom Penh Declaration on EAS Development Initiative, facilitate cooperation in six key fields, and uphold the "two-wheel drive" of economic development and political security, so as to promote the sound and stable development of the summit.

On the visit to Laos, Liu Zhenmin expressed that as good neighbors, good friends, good comrades, and good partners, China and Laos share time-honored friendship between the two peoples. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Laos. During the past 55 years, with joint efforts of the two countries, China-Laos comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership has been gradually deepened with frequent high-level mutual visits and fruitful bilateral economic and trade cooperation. The construction of China-Laos railway commenced at the end of last year and is now under smooth progress. Laos' first communication satellite developed under bilateral cooperation has been launched and is in normal operation. Cooperation between the two countries in areas including defense, security and people-to-people and cultural exchanges has also witnessed constant progress, which brings substantial benefits to the two peoples and makes important contributions to regional peace, stability and development as well.

Premier Li Keqiang's visit will be of great significance in promoting China-Laos comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in the new period. Leaders of both countries will exchange in-depth views and reach important consensus on facilitating cooperation in the new period and issues of common concern. The two sides will also sign a series of cooperation documents.

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