China to Foster Cooperation With Asean
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao saaid Saturday Beijing wants to boost cooperation in trade and security with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
In a policy speech on the last day of a three-day visit to Indonesia, the current chair of Asean and its biggest member, Wen extolled the virtues of an Asean-China free trade agreement (FTA) that came into effect in January.
“China is committed to deepening practical cooperation with Asean,” Wen said.
“Last year, China became Asean’s biggest trading partner. We launched the largest FTA among developing countries and we have set the target of $500 billion in two-way trade by 2015,” he said.
China will increase capacity building and human resources training to speed up development in the poorest Asean members, he said.
“China stands ready to work with Asean to maintain regional security and stability,” he said.
Indonesian officials say Jakarta wants to renegotiate its part of the landmark free trade pact to protect vulnerable sectors from competition with Chinese manufacturers.
On Friday, Wen held talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and announced billions of dollars in loans for badly needed infrastructure projects in the archipelago.