Li to boost co­op­er­a­tion dur­ing Manila trip

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By ZHANG YUE in Manila, Philip­pines zhangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Premier Li Ke­qiang said on Sun­day that China is ready to work with the Philip­pines to con­tinue to prop­erly han­dle mar­itime is­sues through friendly bi­lat­eral con­sul­ta­tion. This can be done by giv­ing full play to mech­a­nisms such as the Bi­lat­eral Con­sul­ta­tion Mech­a­nism on the South China Sea.

Li made the re­marks in a signed ar­ti­cle pub­lished by The Philip­pine Star on Sun­day, when he ar­rived in Manila to be­gin a five-day visit to the coun­try, where he will at­tend high-level meet­ings on East Asia co­op­er­a­tion.

The China-Philip­pines re­la­tion­ship is now see­ing a rain­bow af­ter the storm and show­ing good mo­men­tum across the board, Li said in the ar­ti­cle, adding that he hopes the visit will en­hance the friend­ship be­tween the two peo­ples, deepen co­op­er­a­tion and open new prospects for China-Philip­pine ties.

The visit marks the first time a Chi­nese premier has vis­ited the Philip­pines in 10 years. Li will meet with Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte for bi­lat­eral talks, and the two lead­ers will at­tend cer­e­monies mark­ing the open­ing of sev­eral projects that China sub­si­dized.

Start­ing on Mon­day, Li will at­tend a se­ries of high-level lead­ers’ meet­ings on East Asia co­op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) lead­ers’ meet­ing; the 20th ASEANChina, Ja­pan and Repub­lic of Korea (10+3) lead­ers’ meet­ing; and the 12th East Asia Sum­mit dur­ing his trip to the Philip­pines, which holds the ro­tat­ing chair of ASEAN this year.

This year marks the 50th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of ASEAN, and 2018 will be the 15th an­niver­sary of the Chi­naASEAN co­op­er­a­tion of strate­gic part­ner­ship.

ASEAN, a re­gional bloc of 10 South­east Asian mem­ber na­tions that pro­motes in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal co­op­er­a­tion and fa­cil­i­tates eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion, reached a com­bined GDP of $2.4 tril­lion in 2016, equiv­a­lent to the sixth largest econ­omy in the world. The theme for this year’s sum­mit is “Part­ner­ing for Change, En­gag­ing the World”.

At the meet­ings, Li will pro­pose some 30 new ini­tia­tives on East Asia co­op­er­a­tion, cov­er­ing ar­eas in­clud­ing con­nec­tiv­ity, in­fra­struc­ture, poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, trade and anti-cor­rup­tion, the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs said.

“This year is of crit­i­cal im­por­tance to East Asia co­op­er­a­tion be­cause all key op­er­a­tions un­der the frame­works are reach­ing a cru­cial stage,” said Ruan Zongze, vice-pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies.

Also in Manila, Li is ex­pected to at­tend the lead­ers’ meet­ing of the 16 na­tions of the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship, a pro­posed free trade agree­ment com­prised of ASEAN mem­bers and other states.

It is the first time that the 16 lead­ers of RCEP coun­tries will meet for a talk since ne­go­ti­a­tions started in 2012.

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