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Zhang Gaoli Attends and Addresses the Opening Ceremony of China-ASEAN Expo

On the morning of September 11, 2016, the 13th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) were inaugurated in Nanning of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech.

Zhang Gaoli said that this year marks the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. In the past 25 years, China-ASEAN friendship and cooperation have developed in an all around and in-depth manner. China-ASEAN relations have become the most extensive, the most productive and the closest dialogue partnership, making important contribution to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and in the world at large. President Xi Jinping has proposed the initiative to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. This initiative meets the trend of cooperation in the region and beyond as well as the development needs of countries and regions along the routes. And it is a major strategic vision to build a community of shared interests, future and responsibilities. Since the "Belt and Road" initiative proposed and implemented 3 years ago, China and the ASEAN have made gratifying achievements on the development of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has become a new opportunity, a new driving force, and a new highlight for China and the ASEAN to launch more extensive, higher-quality and more in-depth cooperation.

Zhang Gaoli expressed that China will remain committed to developing friendly cooperation with the ASEAN, and give firm support to the building of the ASEAN Community, the central role that the ASEAN plays in regional cooperation, as well as a bigger role to be played by the ASEAN in international and regional affairs. China is ready to work with the ASEAN to handle bilateral relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective, increase consensus and cooperation, and work together to deeply promote the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and an even closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny. First, we need to strengthen the alignment of development strategies, effectively implement the 2+7 cooperation framework as well as the 3rd five-year action plan for bilateral strategic partnership, jointly advance inclusive development, deepen political mutual trust and facilitate the signing of a treaty of good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. Second, we need to strengthen production capacity cooperation and implement the Joint Statement between China and ASEAN on Production Capacity Cooperation, so as to power growth with economic complementarity. Third, we need to reinforce economic and trade cooperation, actively implement the protocol on upgrading the China-ASEAN free trade area, advance facilitation of trade in goods and investment, further open up the service sector and jointly push forward negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Fourth, we need to step up connectivity construction, and make a connectivity plan for East Asia and Asia at large, so as to take regional connectivity to a new level and deliver more tangible benefits to peoples from both sides. Fifth, we need to strengthen financial cooperation by stepping up currency swap cooperation and fully harnessing the role of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and others to provide funding support for infrastructure connectivity and international production capacity cooperation in this region. Sixth, we need to boost cooperation in people-to-people and cultural exchanges, gradually send more exchange students, promote cross-border tourism and carry out the Plan of Action on China-ASEAN Cooperation in Culture, so as to add to the dimensions of bilateral friendly relations.

Zhang Gaoli noted in the end that the "Belt and Road" construction is a great endeavor that benefits people of all countries along the route. We need to work together and turn the great vision into reality. The CAEXPO and the CABIS, as two platforms for mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation between China and the ASEAN, shoulder an important mission to accomplish in the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" initiative and will surely make greater contribution to building a closer community of common destiny between China and the ASEAN.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Viet Nam, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, Vice President U Myint Swe of Myanmar, Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandon of Laos and Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Jantong of Thailand also attended the opening ceremony and respectively delivered speeches.

After the opening ceremony, Zhang Gaoli toured the exhibition halls of the CAEXPO and jointly attended the opening ceremony of the Viet Nam pavilion with Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

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