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Premier Li Keqiang's keynote speech at 10th China-ASEAN Expo

(Xinhua)    10:27, September 04, 2013
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NANNING, Sept. 3 -- The following is the translation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's keynote speech at the tenth China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, which runs from Sept. 3 to 6 in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Distinguished guests, ladies, gentlemen and friends,

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN strategic partnership and the holding of the China-ASEAN Expo. In many of our oriental countries, there is such a popular saying as "a grand celebration in every 10th year". Today, the hall is full of distinguished guests and filled with festive air. China has another saying -- "it takes a decade for a tree to grow up". The China-ASEAN strategic partnership has gone through 10 years, like a fully grown tree, which is thriving and fruitful. Now, it is time for harvest as well as sowing for the future. I have full confidence in the future development of China-ASEAN relations. On behalf of the Chinese government, I extend my warm welcome to all distinguished guests from various countries, and I send my sincere congratulations to the successful holding of the China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.

Peace and development remain the underlying trends of the world. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, and make positive contributions to the prosperity and stability of this region and the world. Neighboring areas have always been the focus and top priority of China's diplomacy. China's new government will more unswervingly uphold the foreign policy of friendship and partnership with neighboring countries, more actively realize the conjunction between Chinese development strategies and the development goals of neighboring countries, and more firmly and effectively build a community of common destiny to share peace and prosperity.

China and the ASEAN are close neighbors that share affinitive cultures, bloods and common interests. China is the first outside big country to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. It is also the first country to establish strategic partnership with the ASEAN, and to launch and complete the establishment of the free trade area with the ASEAN. Over the past decade since the establishment of China-ASEAN strategic partnership, the relations between the two sides have always featured mutual respect, equal treatment, good relations of neighborhood and mutual benefit. Mutual trust between the two sides has been constantly enhanced, practical cooperation deepened, while people-to-people and cultural exchanges are more frequent, and cooperation in various fields has made substantial progress. All the above aspects have brought tangible benefits to countries in the region and their people.

Nevertheless, we have also noticed that there exist some disruptive factors in the region that are against stability and development, but they are not mainstreams. Regarding South China Sea disputes, China has always firmly held that the immediate disputing parties should seek sound solutions through friendly negotiations on the basis of respecting historical facts and international laws. The Chinese government is one of accountability, and is willing to seek sound solutions through friendly negotiations. The Chinese side maintains that the South China Sea disputes are not an issue between China and the ASEAN, and they should not and will not affect the overall China-ASEAN cooperation. Ten years ago, China and ASEAN countries jointly signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which has firmly maintained peace and stability and substantially safeguarded free voyages in the South China Sea. China will continue to comprehensively implement all provisions in the Declaration with an attitude of accountability, and steadily facilitate talks over a code of conduct in the South China Sea step by step under the framework of the Declaration.

Here, on behalf of the Chinese government, I solemnly declare that China's good-neighborly policy toward the ASEAN is not a matter of expediency, but a long-term strategic option of China. China will firmly prioritize ASEAN member countries in the country's peripheral diplomacy, firmly deepen the strategic partnership with the ASEAN, and firmly cooperate with the ASEAN to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region, including the South China Sea. Meanwhile, China will keep supporting the development of the ASEAN, the establishment of the ASEAN community, as well as upholding the dominant role of the ASEAN in east Asian cooperation. China-ASEAN relations must be long-run and friendly, cooperative and mutually beneficial, and fully embody the importance of the strategic partnership between the two sides.

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(Editor:ZhangQian、Yao Chun)

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