BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday concluded a tightly-scheduled visit to Brunei, where he also attended a series of gatherings of the East Asian leaders and proposed a number of new ideas and measures to deepen regional cooperation.
While addressing the 16th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting on Wednesday, Li put forward a seven-point proposal on further promoting China-ASEAN ties, which includes discussing the signing of a treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, beefing up security exchanges and cooperation, and starting talks on upgrading their free trade area.
He also called on the two sides to move faster on inter-connectivity infrastructure, enhance regional financial cooperation and immunity to risks, promote maritime cooperation and rev up exchanges in culture, technology, environmental protection and other areas so as to consolidate the foundation for bilateral friendly cooperation.
These proposals, said Li, are a policy declaration of a new generation of Chinese leadership on the development of China-ASEAN relations over the next 10 years.
China and ASEAN established a strategic partnership 10 years ago. Over the intervening years, China-ASEAN trade has surged from 54.77 billion U.S. dollars in 2002 to 400.1 billion in 2012, an annual growth rate of 22 percent.
The new set of initiatives, at a crucial time for China-ASEAN ties, will greatly promote their mutually beneficial cooperation and common development, said Wei Ling, director of East Asian Studies Center at the China Foreign Affairs University.
Southeast Asian leaders also pledged to jointly work with China for greater achievements in the development of their relations over the next decade, according to a joint statement issued at the 16th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting.
In the statement, China reaffirmed that it is committed to consolidating and developing a strategic partnership with ASEAN and resolving differences with relevant ASEAN countries through peaceful means and friendly consultations, it said.
While attending the 16th ASEAN plus three (China, Japan and South Korea) summit, the Chinese premier urged the parties to commit themselves to maintaining regional peace and stability and handling sensitive issues in the area in a proper manner.
He suggested the nations should cooperate to speed up East Asian economic integration and try to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations by 2015.
To advance the construction of a regional financial safety net and promote regional financial stability and economic development, Li called for joint efforts to expand cooperation under the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization mechanism and build Asia's own monetary stabilization system, credit system, and investment and financing system.
The ASEAN plus three mechanism, known as 10+3, was born in the throes of the Asian financial crisis to promote regional economic stability and global economic growth.
On Thursday, Li also attended the East Asia Summit, at which he urged countries to abandon the Cold War and zero-sum game mentality so as to promote the peaceful coexistence and common development in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region at large.
Proposing a regional security framework which conforms with the regional situation and needs of relevant parties, Li said countries in the region should embrace a new security concept centering on comprehensive, common and cooperative security.
Li also elaborated on China's stance on the South China Sea issue at the East Asia Summit.
The premier said the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is intact and the safety of navigation there is guaranteed and China stands ready to continue to work with other countries in the region to maintain the freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea.
China and ASEAN countries have reached consensus that disputes should be resolved by relevant parties through consultation and negotiation, he added.
"Unilateral referral of the issue to international arbitration runs counter to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) agreed by China and ASEAN countries," said Li.
The Chinese premier promised that his country will work jointly with ASEAN members to effectively implement the DOC and advance the consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in an active and prudent manner based on the principle of consensus-building.
The meetings in Brunei's capital came after leaders from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum concluded meetings in Bali, Indonesia on Oct. 8. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the APEC meeting and paid state visits to Indonesia and Malaysia.
Standing at a new historical starting point, the meetings of East Asia leaders will indicate the strategic direction of relations between China and its East Asian neighbors, Xu Liping, a researcher with the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.
The consensus reached at the meetings will have far-reaching consequences for economic integration as well as political and security landscape of East Asia and the entire Asia-Pacific region, he said.
Li arrived here Wednesday for the East Asian leaders' meetings and an official visit to Brunei, the first leg of his maiden Southeast Asia tour since taking office in March. The trip will also take him to Thailand and Vietnam.