Premier Li Keqiang delivers a speech at the 22nd China-ASEAN leaders' meeting in Bangkok on Nov 3. [Photo/Xinhua]
Premier Li Keqiang urged all countries involved in negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea to complete their work under the agreed timetable to safeguard the region's lasting peace and stability.
The premier, speaking at the 22nd China-ASEAN leaders' meeting in Bangkok on Sunday, said all parties should rise above disagreements, meet one another halfway and complete the second reading of the draft of the code next year.
The first reading of the text was completed ahead of schedule, and completion on the second reading in 2020 will lay a solid foundation for the completion of negotiations before the end of 2021, Li said.
He reiterated China's commitment to following a path of peaceful development and adhering to the country's opening-up strategy for win-win results.
The alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the development strategies of ASEAN and its member states should be pushed forward, with measures to accelerate the development of economic and transport corridors and boost cooperation on infrastructure and interconnectivity, Li said. He also called for more innovative cooperation in the digital economy, artificial intelligence, big data and internet security.
China and ASEAN members will develop a blue economic partnership and step up exchanges and cooperation in areas such as protecting the maritime ecology, fostering maritime industries and developing clean and renewable energy supplies.
Li also appealed to ASEAN countries to jointly uphold multilateralism and free trade, guard against risks and achieve common development, as the global economy is faced with mounting downward pressure.
Negotiations on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership must be completed at an early date to facilitate further trade, he said.
Li highlighted the importance of people-to-people exchanges and enhancing cooperation in media, health, education and tourism. China is willing to offer 1,000 training opportunities for health administration workers and health professionals from ASEAN countries over the next three years, he said.
An action plan was made at the meeting for implementing the Joint Declaration on China and ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity between 2021 and 2025.
Joint statements were issued on promoting cooperation in the BRI, smart cities and media. Next year was designated as China-ASEAN Digital Economic Cooperation Year.