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Cablegate: China Rolls Out the Red Carpet at Asean Expo

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DE RUEHGZ #1190 3050839
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010839Z NOV 07
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6619
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS GUANGZHOU 001190

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM AND EAP/TC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EINV PREL ASEAN CH
SUBJECT: China Rolls Out the Red Carpet at ASEAN Expo


(U) THIS DOCUMENT IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. IT SHOULD NOT BE
DISSEMINATED OUTSIDE U.S. GOVERNMENT CHANNELS OR IN ANY PUBLIC FORUM
WITHOUT THE WRITTEN CONCURRENCE OF THE ORIGINATOR. IT SHOULD NOT BE
POSTED ON THE INTERNET.

1. (U) Summary: High-level Chinese and ASEAN officials agreed the
text of a maritime agreement and a statement on food safety during
meetings at the Fourth China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning. The trade
fair-like Expo and related events in Nanning reinforce China's
commitment to further develop relations with its Southeast Asian
neighbors. End summary.

Pulling Out the Stops
---------------------

2. (U) Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in
south China, played host this week to a series of events aimed at
strengthening China's economic cooperation with ASEAN. The Fourth
China-ASEAN Expo opened on October 28 with all the fanfare
associated with China's impressive trade shows. Vice Premier Zeng
Peiyuan represented China at the opening ceremony. ASEAN
representatives included several heads of government, namely
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen
Tan Dung, and Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh. Crown
Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah of Brunei also attended. Most of the
other ASEAN countries were represented by cabinet ministers. On the
same day, many of the same leaders opened the China-ASEAN Business
and Investment Summit (CABIS).

3. (U) Nearly 2,000 enterprises participated in the Expo, which
closed on October 31. Most of the booths were occupied by Chinese
companies, organizations, and government agencies. ASEAN entities
occupied one-third of the booths. Expo organizers announced that
trade contracts signed at the event reached a total value of US$1.4
billion, up 12 percent from last year. There were also 182
investment deals signed with a total value of US$6.2 billion, 5
percent more than a year ago.

Focus on Transportation
-----------------------

4. (U) The ASEAN-China Port Development and Cooperation Forum was
another concurrent event in Nanning and was the focus of many of the
visiting ASEAN officials. According to media reports, the Forum
reached consensus on a draft ASEAN-China Maritime Transportation
Agreement that is slated to be signed at the 6th ASEAN-China
Transport Ministers' Meeting in Singapore in early November. In
addition, the officials agreed on a Strategic Plan for ASEAN-China
Transport Cooperation.

Food Safety Too
---------------

5. (SBU) Chinese and ASEAN officials who participated in the events
in Nanning also issued a joint statement on food safety. The
statement called for an exchange of information on food safety
regulations and standards. A Guangzhou-based ASEAN diplomat told
Congenoff that China had lobbied ASEAN countries heavily to issue
this statement.

Comment - Soft Power in Action
------------------------------

6. (SBU) China's investment, especially at senior government levels
(Wen Jiabao delivered the opening address at the 15th anniversary of
the establishment of the China-ASEAN Dialogue last October 31 in
Nanning) in the events this week testifies to its ongoing commitment
to develop relations with its Southeast Asian neighbors. The trade
fair-like Exposition appeared to be an effective way to use economic
muscle to further strengthen ties and to make a political statement.
High-level participation by ASEAN members, especially those from
Indochina, suggests that Southeast Asian countries are responding to
China's efforts.

GOLDBERG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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