Give him a hand

Li to at­tend ASEAN-China Lead­ers Meet­ing and other key gather­ings

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama of­fers a ges­ture of thanks at the end of his ad­dress at the Lao Na­tional Cul­tural Hall, on the side­lines of the ASEAN Sum­mit, in Vi­en­tiane, Laos on Tues­day. Chi­nese Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang has also ar­rived in Laos to at­tend the East Asia Sum­mit and sev­eral other meeit­ngs.

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, whichis 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 peo­pleto-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.

JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS

RAO AIMIN / XIN­HUA

Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang ar­rives in Vi­en­tiane, Laos, at the start of his first of­fi­cial visit to the coun­try. He will at­tend sev­eral lead­ers’ meet­ings.

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