Premier Li calls for trade and cooperation in ASEAN+3 meetings

World Today

At this year’s China-ASEAN meetings, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for integration in the region. But the highlight of the summit is an agreement on a Code of Conduct plan in the South China Sea. CGTN’s Barnaby Lo has details.

It was a hectic two days for world leaders attending the ASEAN and East Asia summits in Manila—including Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

But it has also been a fruitful one, in particular for China and ASEAN, as well as with other countries participating in the summits here in Manila. There was a lot of talk on trade and economic cooperation, both on Monday’s ASEAN plus one meeting, and on Tuesday’s ASEAN plus three meeting.

“We are still seeing a mixed picture of world economic recovery,” Premier Li said. “De-globalization and protectionism are on the rise. Cross-border regional issues are emerging and these have presented challenges for us. I hope that through this summit, we can build consensus and send a positive signal that we firmly support regional integration and advance East Asia Economic Community.”

Moon Jae-In, President of the Republic of Korea (ROK), put forward a similar message in his remarks.

“In 1999, we utilized the power of solidarity and overcame the financial crisis. Let us create a vision for the East Asian community of peace, prosperity, and progress,” he said.

“Let us overcome the complex challenges, including protectionist and self-centered approaches, aging, and climate change.”

Premier Li also touched on the progress made on the South China Sea territorial issue, saying negotiations on the text of the Code of Conduct can now move forward after an agreement between China and ASEAN on a framework. He reiterated China’s commitment to resolve the disputes peacefully with parties directly involved.

Li’s activities in Manila will continue beyond the conclusion of the Manila meetings, and he is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.