Home Speeches Speech delivered at the “East Asian Investment Forum” by Zhang Yesui

 

East Asian Cooperation and China's Policy
Speech delivered at the “East Asian Investment Forum"

Zhang Yesui
Vice Minister, Chinese Foreign Ministry
Weihai, Shandong, China
July 2, 2005

 

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

I am very glad to be here, the beautiful coastal city of Weihai, and to attend the “East Asian Investment Forum." On behalf of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, I would like to extend congratulations to the opening of the Forum and express sincere thanks to China Foreign Affairs University, China Development Bank and Shandong Provincial Government for hosting this important event.

The current world is witnessing two major trends, namely, economic globalization and regional integration. In recent years, the regional integration in East Asia has made substantial progress. The vigorous and promising East Asian cooperation has become an important part of the regional cooperation in Asia. It has not only facilitated the economic and social development of the region, but also brought tangible benefits to the countries and peoples concerned.

The growth rate of East Asian economy has been staying above the world's average. The intra-regional trade accounts more than 50% of the total in East Asia. Prominent progress has been made with the ASEAN Free Trade Area, China-ASEAN FTA and other multilateral Free Trade arrangements. Intra-regional investment has continued to grow, amounting to 2/3 of the total investment in East Asian economies. The regional financial cooperation with the focus on Chiang Mai Initiative and Asian Bond Market has been going forward smoothly. A new network of industries, trade and investment is taking shape in East Asia, which has laid a solid foundation for further development of East Asian cooperation.

Various regional and sub-regional frameworks and mechanisms among governments have been gradually established. Track two activities, like the Network of East Asian Think-tanks and East Asian Forum, are increasingly active. The fact that East Asian countries showing more common interests, enjoying strengthened mutual political trust and will of cooperation has become all the more prominent. All these factors have provided favorable conditions for East Asia to deepen regional integration. 
Since 1997, the ASEAN Plus China, Japan and Korea (10+3) cooperation has continuously developed and improved and has gained remarkable achievements. It has become a cooperation system that boasts rich content and wide scope and secures itself as the major channel of cooperation in East Asia. At 10+3 Leaders' Meeting in Vientiane, Laos held last year, the leaders unanimously agreed to build an East Asian Community as the future direction of East Asian Cooperation. The first East Asia Summit which is to be held at the end of this year will be conducive to the solidarity among East Asian countries, will accelerate  10+3 cooperation process, will contribute to the realization of the long-term goal of building an East Asia Community, and it will also promote the common development of East Asia and other regions in the world.

To promote actively friendly relations with its neighbors has been the priority of China's foreign policy. In developing relations with its neighbors, China follows the guideline of “building a good-neighborly relationship of partnership" with them, and the policy of “building an amicable, tranquil and prosperous neighborhood." The aim is to create a regional environment friendly co-existence, mutual benefit, win-win result and common development.

China's development is closely linked with that of East Asia. China's trade with East Asian countries and economies has amounted to 60% of its total trade volume. The investment from these countries and economies constitute over 60% of China's FDI. Meanwhile China's development has created more opportunities and brought about practical benefits to East Asia. China's increasing integration with East Asia has become a major driving force for regional integration. China has actively participated in regional cooperation under various frameworks, for instance, ASEAN+3, China, Japan and ROK trilateral cooperation, Asian Cooperation Dialog and Greater Mekong River Sub-regional Cooperation, and has made its due contribution to the promotion of East Asian integration.

China is committed all-round mutually-beneficial cooperation with ASEAN. In recent years, China-ASEAN cooperation has made great progress. We have expanded the scope of cooperation, continuously improved cooperation mechanism, and substantially raised the level of cooperation. China was the first country outside South-east Asia that has acceded to the “Treaty on Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia", which has further enhanced the political and legal foundation of China-ASEAN relations. China and ASEAN have established a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity, which set the direction for the long-term stable development of their relations. We have made significant  progress in developing China-ASEAN Free Trade Area significant progress. The Agreement on free trade in goods will take effect this month. In five years, a Free Trade Area of a total population of 2 billion and GDP close to 3 trillion US dollars will come into being in East Asia.

The cooperation among East Asia countries has enhanced mutual trust, increased common interests, expanded the scope of common development and strengthened their capability in meeting the challenges of globalization. The achievements made so far in East Asian cooperation have attributed to the opening and cooperation policies of East Asian countries. The achievements are the result of common efforts of all parties, simply because East Asia has followed the spirit of consultation on equal basis, mutually beneficial cooperation and they are achieved for win-win result, gradualism, open-mindedness and inclusiveness. Facing the opportunities and challenges of globalization, to better promote the integration process, that is essential, I believe, that East Asian countries need to continue to enhance consensus on the following four points:

First, consolidate political mutual trust, enhance communication and understanding, and take into account each other's concerns. Asia has many problems left from history. Complicated problems hamper the building of mutual trust and cooperation among countries. We should intensify exchange and dialogue in all sectors, deepen mutual understanding, and create more favorable conditions and climate for cooperation among countries.

Second, accelerate the building of the bilateral and multilateral FTA in East Asia so as to lay a foundation for the establishment of the East Asian FTA. Large amount of foreign exchange reserves and capital in East Asia should be fully utilized by setting up regional investment entities, establishing regional bond market and developing regional financial cooperation system, so that we can further improve the regional investment and financing environment and strengthen the risk-mitigating capability of East Asian countries.

Third, support ASEAN's leading role in East Asian cooperation process, and stick to the 10+3 framework as the main channel of East Asia cooperation. We should further improve the cooperation mechanism, enrich and expand cooperation contents, and boost continued tangible achievement of the 10+3 cooperation.

Fourth, uphold open regionalism. The fundamental purpose of regional cooperation is to realize mutual benefit, win-win results, and common development. The cooperation within the region shall not be exclusive or targeted towards any third party. China supports the openness, transparency, inclusiveness and mutual benefit of regional cooperation, which contributes to the common progress of East Asia and the world as a whole.

Peace, development and prosperity of East Asia are the common aspirations of all the member countries that call for the concerted efforts of East Asian countries. The development of China is indispensable from that of Asia, and vise versa. As a member of the East Asia family, China is willing to cooperate with other countries in the region and continue to make due contribution to the peace, stability and development of East Asia.

Thank you.