East Asia countries call for closer regional integration

/ 01:28 PM November 14, 2017
asean plus three east asia

(L-R) Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar’s State Councellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, unidentified Laotian representing Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Indonesian President Joko Widodo link hands during a brief group photo in the ASEAN Plus Three Commemorative Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Bullit Marquez

Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s key allies in East Asia — South Korea, Japan, and China — called for a closer regional integration at the Asean Plus Three Commemorative Summit on Tuesday.

“I hope that through this summit, we can build consensus and send a positive signal that we firmly support regional integration and advance East Asia Economic Community or EAEC so as to benefit the people and the country in the region,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in his opening statement.


He also noted China’s improved relations with Japan and South Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also called for a stronger financial cooperation.


“In the midst of concerns about the rise of protectionism and inward looking orientation in the world, in order to enhance predictability of the economies of the region and the world, to mitigate vulnerabilities and to maintain and strengthen the free trading system, the significance of financial cooperation between the Asean Plus Three becomes increasingly greater,” he said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In, meanwhile, called for stepped-up efforts in building a regional community.

“Let us create a vision for the East Asian community of peace, prosperity, and progress….Let us overcome the complex challenges, including protectionist and self-centered approaches…. aging, and climate change,” he said.

All the three leaders looked back at the Asian financial crisis 20 years ago and how the Asean Plus Three played a vital role in their recovery.

“The APT was established as a result of the 1997 Asian Currency Crisis. And since then, the scope of cooperation was broadened to include food security, energy, environment, and health, among others,” Abe said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, chairman of this year’s Asean, urged his fellow leaders from the Asean member states and East Asia partners “to continue nurturing a peaceful co-existence.”

“[This] is where we consider ourselves as one and a family,” he said. /je


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TAGS: ASEAN, Asean Plus Three, China, cooperation, East Asia Summit, Japan, Korea, Regional integration
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