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Li Keqiang Attends the 22nd ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Plus China, Japan and ROK (Republic of Korea) Summit

On the morning of November 4, 2019 local time, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 22nd ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Plus Three (APT) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. Leaders of the 10 ASEAN member states, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan attended the meeting. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha of Thailand chaired the summit.

Li Keqiang said in his speech, APT cooperation, which was initiated in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, has traversed an extraordinary journey. Deemed a successful example of multilateral cooperation, APT cooperation has delivered benefits to the countries and peoples in the region, and boosted economic growth in Asia and beyond. The valuable experience gained therefrom should be carried forward. As we meet, the world is seeing profound and complex changes, with slowing global growth and notably rising protectionism, posing new risks and challenges to the development of East Asian countries. APT countries are duty-bound to strengthen unity and collaboration, broaden our space of development and inject a fresh impetus into the steady growth of the regional and global economy.

Li Keqiang pointed out, we need to further unleash the potential to seek more substantive progress in APT cooperation.

First, bringing economic integration to a higher level. Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, 15 RCEP participating countries have concluded text-based negotiations and essentially all their market access issues. This is a major breakthrough in building a free trade area in East Asia that covers the largest population, the most diverse membership and boasts the greatest development potential. The conclusion of the RCEP will vigorously promote regional economic integration, safeguard free trade and boost market confidence. We are willing to speed up the China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiations and put us on course toward an East Asia Economic Community.

Second, supporting regional connectivity. China supports the release of the APT Leaders' Statement on Connecting the Connectivities Initiative. China is willing to enhance the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and other regional connectivity initiatives, strengthen cooperation on economic corridors and industrial parks, and improve institutional connectivity including that of market rules and standards.

Third, enhancing regional financial cooperation. Parties need to act on the vision set out in the Strategic Directions of ASEAN+3 Finance Process, and work to improve the regional economic governance architecture through financial cooperation and serve the need for regional economic integration. We welcome the completion of the first periodic review of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) Agreement and support further efforts to explore using local currencies. Meanwhile, the use of local currencies in regional trade and investment should also be increased.

Fourth, promoting sustainable development. China will work with other APT countries to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and share experience through the East Asia Cooperation Initiative on Poverty Reduction. China will do what it can to narrow the development gap and achieve common prosperity in the region through sub-regional cooperation frameworks, including the Lancang-Mekong and the China-BIMP-EAGA cooperation. We support the establishment of the APT Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management and will be happy to host its first meeting next year.

Fifth, deepening people-to-people exchanges. We need to well use the APT Cooperation Fund to sponsor more projects that enjoy the support of the people. We have launched the Network of APT Cultural Cities last month. China welcomes the establishment of the APT Website, and will remain a good host of the APT Media Cooperation Forum and the APT Young Scientists' Forum to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between cultures and deepen the understanding and affinity among our peoples.

Leaders at the summit spoke highly of the achievements of APT cooperation over the past year in promoting regional economic and social development. They highly appreciated the major breakthrough in RCEP negotiations and are committed to signing an agreement by 2020 to promote regional trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. All sides welcomed the APT Leaders' Statement on Connecting the Connectivities Initiative to advance the development of high-quality infrastructure. They supported the efforts to strengthen the effectiveness of the CMIM Agreement and maintain financial stability. In the face of slowing global economic growth, APT should play a leading role, strengthen mechanism building, deepen interdependence, expand cooperation in such areas as trade and investment, smart cities, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, climate change and disaster management, jointly meet challenges and contribute to regional stability and prosperity.

The summit adopted the APT Leaders' Statement on Connecting the Connectivities Initiative.

State Councilor and Secretary-General of the State Council Xiao Jie was present.

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