BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- China would like to take the opportunity of the upcoming meetings of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to enhance its cooperation with the ASEAN countries, a senior Chinese diplomat said Wednesday.
Xue Hanqin, China's ambassador to the ASEAN, briefed a press salon held by the All-China Journalists Association on the upcoming ASEAN meetings and the China-ASEAN relations Wednesday.
Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the 12th summit between the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China (10+1), the 12th summit between the ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK)(10+3), and the fourth East Asia Summit, in Hua Hin of Thailand from Oct. 23 to 25 at the invitation of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Xue said the meetings would focus on tackling the financial crisis to ensure the recovery of the world economy and continuously deepening the cooperation on economy, education and infrastructure construction between China and the ASEAN, as well as the ASEAN, China, Japan and the ROK.
China and the ASEAN countries are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on the China-ASEAN center to further strengthen bilateral economic, trade, social, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, said Xue.
The Thai government has made great efforts to provide support to countries attending the meetings regarding the security of the meetings, Xue said, adding China is satisfied with its cooperation with Thailand in related aspects.
After the cancellation of the ASEAN meetings in Pattaya, Thailand in April, China announced its plan to establish a China-ASEAN investment cooperation fund totaling 10 billion U.S. dollars, designed for cooperation on infrastructure construction, energy and resources, information and communications.
Xue said, the arrangement for the fund is going smoothly at present and the first 1 billion U.S. dollars, the preparation of which has almost been finished, is expected to be used before the end of this year.
The ASEAN countries has shown keen interest in the fund, Xue said, noting that China is willing to keep communication with them for an early operation of the fund.
According to the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and China, the China-ASEAN free trade area (CAFTA), the world's largest FTA in terms of its 1.9 billion population and the third largest in terms of trade volume, would be established at the beginning of 2010.
Xue said, the Chinese government has vigorously encouraged the Chinese enterprises to "go out to the world". It would also introduce the CAFTA to them and guide them in promoting bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
The sixth annual trade and investment event now held in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has provided a sound platform for their cooperation, she said.
China is ASEAN's fourth largest trading and investment partner, whose trade with ASEAN accounts for 10.6 percent of ASEAN's total trade. In 2008, the bilateral trade volume was 231.1 billion U.S. dollars. China's direct foreign investment in the ASEAN reached 2.18 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, with an increase of 125 percent compared with that of 2007.
Xue said, countries in this region share the goals to realize economic integration as well as development and prosperity. China is ready to further enhance its economic and trade cooperation with the ASEAN countries for their common development.