Premier to announce new initiatives while in Laos
Updated: 2016-09-07 07:46
By Hu Yongqi(China Daily)
Premier Li Keqiang arrives in Vientiane, Laos, at the start of his first official visit to the country. He will attend several leaders' meetings. Rao Aimin / Xinhua
Li to attend ASEAN-China Leaders Meeting and other key gatherings
Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Vientiane, capital of Laos, on Tuesday for a four-day visit to the Southeast Asian country, where he will attend the East Asia Summit and pay an official visit to Laos.
Laos assumes the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year and will host all ASEAN and East Asian summits, along with other high-level meetings.
From Wednesday to Friday, Li is scheduled to attend the 19th ASEAN-China Leaders Meeting; the 19th ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea Leaders Meeting; and the 11th East Asia Summit, according to Liu Zhenmin, vice-minister of foreign affairs. The premier will meet with leaders from 10 ASEAN countries.
Top leaders from other countries, including Japan and South Korea, will be in Vientiane as well, along with US President Barack Obama.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations and the 55th anniversary of China-Laos diplomatic ties. Experts said Li's visit will strengthen relations with ASEAN countries, especially Laos, which Li called "a good neighbor".
During the first half of this year, China-ASEAN trade volume hit $209 billion. China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner, while ASEAN countries, as a bloc, are China's third-largest trading partner.
The 13th China-ASEAN Expo will be held following the leaders' meeting later this month in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, which is expected to further boost bilateral trade and economic exchanges.
Li is expected to announce initiatives during the ASEAN-China Leaders Meeting to promote people-to-people exchanges with ASEAN countries by prioritizing education and tourism, while consolidating and deepening political security and economic cooperation, Liu said.
During the ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea Leaders Meeting, Li is expected to propose greater cooperation in several key areas, including financial security, trade and investment, connectivity, production capacity and people-to-people exchanges, Liu said.
At the East Asia Summit, he said, Li is expected to introduce China's policy of sticking to economic development and political security that reinforces stable and healthy development.
Wei Ling, director of the Institute of Asian Studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said the East Asia Summit should stress pragmatic cooperation and connectivity within the region and should address how to cope with nontraditional security issues such as terrorism.
Zhu Feng, president of the Institute of International Studies at Nanjing University, said China has strong influence with some ASEAN neighbors - particularly Laos and Cambodia. But the South China Sea issue might still be in the spotlight as Obama makes what is likely his final visit to an ASEAN country as president of the United States, Zhu said.
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