Expo proof of cooperation
Updated: 2012-09-21 08:02
Vice-President Xi Jinping's attendance at the 9th China-ASEAN Expo demonstrates the great importance China attaches to its relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The grand gala, which opens on Friday in Nanning, capital of South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, will provide a venue for leaders from both sides to discuss bilateral and regional issues and forge new programs of cooperation.
Since its inauguration in 2004, the annual event has thrived to become a platform that showcases the prospering trade ties and good neighborly relations between the two sides.
The past eight expos generated a trade volume of $11.69 billion, and investment agreements signed during the events totaled $49.17 billion. As a regional vehicle to promote common prosperity, the expo also boosted the momentum for the smooth development of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which was officially established on Jan 1, 2010.
China has also actively participated in and provided supporting funds for infrastructure and telecommunications programs that aim to improve the connectivity between ASEAN member states.
The healthy growth of China-ASEAN ties contributes to the region's integration process and brings real benefits to people in the region. That explains why both sides have put a lot of effort in recent years into expanding their interaction from trade to other issues of common concern, such as regional security.
After the brutal killings of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River in October last year, China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand cooperated to hunt down the perpetrators and buttress security along the golden waterway. On Thursday a trial began in a court in Yunnan province of six suspects accused of carrying out the deadly attack. And to date, the four countries have conducted five joint patrols along the Mekong, a move proven instrumental in combating cross-border crimes and maintaining regional security and stability.
The successful transnational cooperation on the Mekong demonstrates that regional woes and crises can be addressed and eased as long as countries in the region shore up friendship and cooperation. And the same principle should be applied to the South China Sea disputes that involve China and a few ASEAN members. Claimant parties should keep the larger picture of regional peace and stability in mind and do more to ease the tensions.
(China Daily 09/21/2012 page8)