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Wen: Growth poses no threat to neighbours
Updated: 2005-12-12 15:50

China's rapid economic rise spells an opportunity, not a threat, to the rest of East Asia, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reassured leaders from neighbouring countries on Monday ahead of a regional summit.

Wen: Growth poses no threat to neighbours
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao looks on during the Special Leaders Dialogue at the 2005 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, held in conjunction with the 11th ASEAN Summit, in Kuala Lumpur December 12, 2005. Wen spoke on the topic "China's Peaceful Developments: Implications and Opportunities for East Asia." [Reuters]

"China's development not only benefits its 1.3 billion people but also provides more opportunities for other East Asian countries," Wen told a conference being held in the run-up to the inaugural East Asian summit in Malaysia's capital on Wednesday.

Trade between China and ASEAN grew by 25 percent in the first half of 2005, and China is the block's fourth largest trading partner. Trade volume for the first six months of 2005 totalled $59.76 billion.

The premier noted that as Chinese companies continue to expand in business, China will contribute more significantly to Asia's economic growth.

"With domestic demand growing, China will import more than $2 trillion of goods in the next five years," said Wen.

With import growing by an average annual rate of over 15 percent in recent years, China ranks the world's third largest and Asia’s largest importer. In 2004, China's import from other Asian countries and areas grew by 35 percent over 2003 to about US$370 billion.

"China is committed to East Asia cooperation in the interest of fostering a harmonious, secure and prosperous neighbourly environment," the Chinese Premier said.

"China hopes that such cooperation will promote regional peace and prosperity and create a friendly international environment that will facilitate its development endeavour. China is proud to be a good neighbour, good friend and good partner of other Asian countries." 

China and ASEAN in 2002 agreed to establish a free trade area, and Beijing has also signed bilateral trade agreements with Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

The Chinese Premier also promised that China would continue to reform its currency regime.

China revalued its currency by 2.1 percent against the dollar this July and scrapped its decade-long peg to the dollar.

"In introducing this reform and adjustment, we have taken full account of both China's economic and financial stability and the impact of such reform and adjustment on the economic and financial stability of China's neighbours, the whole region, and the world at large," Wen said.

"We will continue to do so in the future."

China will also take an active part in energy cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, Wen said, adding that China is ready to strengthen energy dialogue and cooperation with other countries to ensure global energy security and stability.

Being both a major energy producer and a major energy consumer, China meets over 90 percent of its overall energy demand with domestic supply, and will adhere to the policy of meeting its energy need mainly through domestic supply, he said.

China will promote both energy development and energy conservation, and give top priority to energy conservation, Wen said, adding: "Our goal is to cut the use of energy per unit of the GDP by about 20 percent by 2010, and achieve energy conservation and efficiency for the whole country."

The East Asia summit is being convened by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and will provide opportunities for bilateral discussion. But Beijing said ahead of the summit that Wen and other leaders would not hold separate meetings with Koizumi.


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