China eyes stronger ties with ASEAN

Relations between China and ASEAN are expected to be elevated to a higher level when Beijing opens its representative mission to the Southeast Asian grouping next year.

The ASEAN website quoted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as saying at a meeting with ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan on the sidelines of the 8th China-ASEAN Expo(CAEXPO) in Nanning on Oct. 21 that "developing the strategic relationship with ASEAN is an important platform of China's diplomacy."

Other than the opening of the mission in Jakarta , the inauguration of the ASEAN Centre in Beijing is another indication of the importance China places on its relations with Southeast Asia , he added.

Premier Wen also said the 6th East Asia Summit (EAS) in November in Indonesia is a significant commemorative forum for China and ASEAN leaders.

Surin Pitsuwan urged Chinese busiensses to boost their investment in ASEAN.

Total bilateral trade between ASEAN and China is close to 300 billion USD, an increase of 37 times over the past two decades.

The two sides expect to increase two-way trade to 500 billion USD by 2015.

At earlier meetings with leaders of Guangxi, the ASEAN chief said the CAEXPO had grown to be a very important conduit for trade and investments between the two sides./.

VNA

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