Strive to Deepen Cooperation for Common Prosperity
--Address by H.E. Wen Jiabao
At the 8th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit
The Honorable Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib,
The Honorable Prime Minister Hun Sen,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year is the China-ASEAN Friendship and Exchange Year and the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. It is therefore highly relevant for the summit to take "deepen regional cooperation for common prosperity" as its theme. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the summit and sincere welcome to all the distinguished guests present.
China and ASEAN countries are linked by the same mountains and rivers or face each other across the sea. Our forefathers have, since ancient times, lived and multiplied in Asia, the homeland for us all. As the Chinese saying goes, "It's better to have a neighbor close by than a relative far away." Geographic proximity has brought us close to each other. One can easily find vestiges of interaction and integration of our cultures whether in China or ASEAN countries. Stories of Admiral Zheng He's many voyages to the Western Seas, travel to China by Boni King of Brunei, and the Bandung Conference have been told from generation to generation. Indeed, the traditional friendship between the Chinese people and the people of ASEAN countries has run a long course and is poised to become even stronger.
Since the 1980s and 90s, China-ASEAN relations have entered a new historical period with the deepening of China's reform and opening-up. Firmly committed to closer communication, stronger mutual trust, enhanced cooperation and mutual benefit, we launched China-ASEAN dialogue relations and turned a new chapter in the annals of bilateral relationship. Over the past two decades, our relations have witnessed historic progress from all-round dialogue partners to partners of good-neighborliness and mutual trust, to strategic partners. A framework of all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-tiered China-ASEAN cooperation has gradually taken shape.
China has every sincerity in advancing its relations with ASEAN. Among big countries outside the region, China is the first to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the first to establish strategic partnership with ASEAN, the first to build free trade area with ASEAN, and the first to commit to signing the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. What is more, China firmly supports ASEAN in playing the leading role in East Asian cooperation.
China is committed to deepening practical cooperation with ASEAN. Thanks to joint efforts of governments and business communities on both sides, our two-way trade has registered an average annual growth rate of more than 20% in the past two decades, reaching nearly US$300 billion a year. China has become the largest trading partner of ASEAN, and ASEAN the third largest trading partner of China. We have launched such business and trade platforms as the China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, established the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund, China-ASEAN Public Health Cooperation Fund and China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund. China has provided training programs on capacity building for tens of thousands of people from ASEAN countries. China-ASEAN economic cooperation has never been more dynamic and more fruitful.