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ASEAN Leaders China, Japan, ROK hold 10+3 meeting

ASEAN Leaders China, Japan, ROK hold 10+3 meeting in Bali

The leaders of the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASIAN), and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) (10+3) held their seventh summit meeting here on Oct.7.

Chaired by Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri, the leaders discussed the direction of the future development of 10+3 and explored ways to enhance the cooperation among their countries in various fields in a friendly and frank atmosphere.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a speech titled "Composing A New Chapter for East Asia Cooperation" at the meeting.

In the speech, he hailed the establishment and development of the 10+3 cooperation as "a major pioneering undertaking by East Asian countries for the sake of their common prosperity amidst economic globalization."

Over the past six years, the 10+3 cooperation has been fleshed up bit by bit, and transformed itself from a mere dialogue meeting to a full-fledged cooperative system, Wen said.

Recalling the new fruits the 10+3 has achieved since its last summit, the premier cited the further implementation of the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI); the 10+3 Health Ministers Meeting and 10+3 High-level Symposium on SARS; and the successful convocation of the 10+3 Senior Officials Meeting on Combating Transnational Crimes.

"Thanks to years of efforts, 10+3 has provided an effective mechanism for deeper East Asia cooperation and gradual regional economic integration over time. It is necessary that we identify long-term goals for 10+3 and promote better and more pragmatic cooperation upon the existing basis," Wen said.

In the long-term perspective, the premier proposed that ASEAN members and China, Japan and ROK start to improve and substantiate 10+3 cooperation in four areas so as to bring the East Asia cooperation to a new high.

Specifically, he proposed to study feasibility of East Asian Free Trade Area; to promote East Asian financial cooperation; to strengthen political and security dialogue; and to expand social, cultural, scientific and technological cooperation.

Wen also spoke highly of the Bali Concord II, which was adopted by ASEAN leaders in the day, describing it as a milestone in the course of ASEAN development. He believed the historic document would benefit the group's rejuvenation and the regional cooperation process.

The Chinese premier stated that China will continue to support, through concrete actions, ASEAN's integration and its unique and important role in various regional and international cooperation mechanisms, including 10+3.

"China cannot develop without the support of the rest of East Asia, and the prosperity of East Asia also needs China. As a member of this region, China highly values good-neighborly relations and will continue to follow the principle of befriending and partnering with our neighbors and work for better regional cooperation and more vigorous and fruitful exchanges and interactions with the neighboring countries.

"Let us work together for better cooperation at 10+3 and in East Asia and compose a new chapter of East Asian prosperity and development," the premier concluded.

All other leaders present also spoke at the meeting.

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