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China, ASEAN to build closer community with shared future: vice premier

NANNING, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng on Friday called on China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take the opportunity of the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to build a closer community with a share future.

Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 19th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Han called on the two sides to further enhance strategic alignment, comprehensively implement the Joint Statement of the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, build their comprehensive strategic partnership well and discuss the joint implementation of the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative.

He called on the two sides to promote economic and trade cooperation, ensure the high-quality implementation of the RCEP and work toward an improved version of the China-ASEAN free-trade zone.

China will increase the import of high-quality products, particularly agricultural products from the ASEAN countries, said Han, calling on the two sides to facilitate a deeper integration of the industrial, supply and value chains.

The vice premier called on China and the ASEAN countries to promote the interconnectivity of infrastructure and the joint construction of a new international land-sea trade corridor.

On green development cooperation, Han called on the two sides to enhance cooperation in areas including environmental protection, climate change response and biodiversity, promote the green upgrading of industrial structures, jointly develop clean energy, and strengthen marine ecosystem protection and the sustainable utilization of marine resources.

On promoting people-to-people exchanges, Han said the two sides should enhance the research, development and production of COVID-19 vaccines, vigorously promote culture, education, youth, local-level and media exchanges and cooperation, and consolidate the foundation of public opinion for people-to-people exchanges.

Speeches were delivered via video by Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Lao Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi.

After the opening ceremony, Han toured the exhibition hall and exchanged views with owners of participating enterprises, noting that China will unswervingly open up wider to the outside world and actively foster a market-oriented and law-based international business environment.

The RCEP is unlocking the potential of the integrated market and injecting strong impetus into China-ASEAN cooperation, Han said, stressing that China welcomes foreign companies to invest and do business in China, as well as encouraging Chinese companies to actively explore the international market.