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UPDATED: October 31, 2007 NO.32 AUG.9, 2007
A New Stage of Cooperation
China pushes ASEAN to the next level of economic, political and security collaboration

Political trust between China and ASEAN has been strengthened through this cooperation, especially in the face of regional natural disasters and diseases, such as the SARS and bird flu epidemics. When ASEAN member countries Indonesia and Sri Lanka were hit by the tragic tsunami in December 2004, China offered aid in the form of money, material and medical services.

China's collaboration with ASEAN received a boost in January when Premier Wen Jiabao signed a declaration on East Asian energy security at the Second East Asia Summit in Cebu, the Philippines. Summit attendees requested that other East Asian countries to work with ASEAN on a common energy security policy. The declaration calls for the countries to improve energy efficiency and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. It also advises them to expand renewable energy systems and biofuel production, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure stable energy supplies by investing in regional infrastructure such as the ASEAN power grid and the trans-ASEAN gas pipeline.

"Dialogue and policy coordination should be strengthened between producers and consumers to guarantee a stable energy market in the region," Wen said in a speech at the meeting. He also noted that China and ASEAN should strengthen their mutual political trust, bring China-ASEAN economic relations and trade to a new level and work together in non-traditional security fields.

Wen put forward three proposals at the summit: that East Asian countries should work together to enhance regional development and prosperity; that their cooperation should lead to harmony among all countries in the region; and that the diversified development of social systems and cultures should be respected.

Wen also said that China would favorably consider setting up economic and trade zones in ASEAN countries that have sound infrastructures and complete industrial chains. He also mentioned that China made good on its pledge to deliver $1 million to the ASEAN Development Fund. The money will be used to train 8,000 professionals in various fields within five years and to run a number of agro-technology training programs and workshops in ASEAN countries this year.

China also would invite 300 young people from ASEAN countries to visit the country and set up a China-ASEAN Youth Campus in Guangxi, China, Wen said. China also would host the third China-ASEAN high-level seminar on media cooperation this year to promote China-ASEAN media exchanges, he said.

With China-ASEAN trade and economic cooperation leading the way, China is ready to deepen its cooperation in all areas, particularly social, cultural, political and security cooperation.

"I hope this will bring the China-ASEAN win-win cooperation and common development to a higher level," Wen said at the summit.

Key Events Among China-ASEAN Communication

July 19, 1991: Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen is invited to the opening ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, marking the start of formal contact between China and ASEAN.

July 1994: China attends the first meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Thailand as a consultative partner.

April 3-4, 1995: The first Sino-ASEAN consultation at vice foreign ministerial level is held in Hangzhou, China.

July 25, 1996: The ASEAN Standing Committee elevates the status of China from consultative partnership to full dialogue partnership.

December 15, 1997: Chinese President Jiang Zemin attends the First "10+3" Informal Summit attended by leaders of ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea.

November 5, 2001: At the Fifth China-ASEAN Summit in Brunei, the two sides agree on the establishment of a free trade area in the next 10 years.

November 4, 2002: Leaders of China and ASEAN sign the Framework Agreement on China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, kicking off the free trade area process, which is scheduled to be established by 2010.

April 29, 2003: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends the China-ASEAN leaders' special meeting on SARS in Bangkok.

October 8, 2003: At the Ninth ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia, China accedes to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and signs a joint declaration on strategic partnership for peace and prosperity.

November 6, 2004: The First China-ASEAN Expo is held in Nanning, China, which shows the enthusiasm and determination of China to forge and further improve ties with ASEAN members.

November 29, 2004: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends the Eighth China-ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, capital of the Laos.

December 12, 2005: At the Ninth China-ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao puts forward initiatives to ensure more vigorous and fruitful growth of relations between China and ASEAN.

October 30, 2006: The Commemorative Summit marking the 15th anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations is convened in China's southern city of Nanning.

January 14, 2007: China and ASEAN countries sign the Agreement on Trade in Services of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in Cebu, the Philippines. Under the agreement, China will allow auto maintenance companies from ASEAN countries to set up wholly owned subsidiaries in China.



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