NANNING CITY (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attended the opening ceremony of the ninth ASEAN-China Expo (CAEXPO) and the China-ASEAN Business-Investment Summit (CABIS) in Nanning City, Guangxi province, yesterday.
The event also saw the participation of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, Myanmar President Thein Sein, Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavaong, and government leaders from several ASEAN countries.
CAEXPO and CABIS are annual activities jointly held by the Chinese Trade Ministry and the 10 ASEAN countries, although several nations from outside the region also attend.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Xi Jinping said economic, trade and investment cooperation between ASEAN and China has been expanded over the recent past.
ASEAN member states have also become leading economic and investment partners of China, he added.
By July 2012, investment between China and ASEAN had reached nearly US$100 billion, said Xi, adding that China and ASEAN have lifted their relations to a strategic partnership.
Xi also stressed China's consistent policy of attaching a great deal of importance to expanding cooperation with ASEAN neighbours.
He said China wished to work with the ASEAN members to resolve issues, including territorial disputes, through peaceful negotiations and with mutual respect.
At CAEXPO's opening ceremony, Myanmar President Thein Sein, on behalf of ASEAN's leaders, stressed that since establishing relations in 1991, cooperation between ASEAN and China has been consolidated, bringing many benefits to all concerned.
To ASEAN countries, CAEXPO played an important role in strengthening economic and trade exchanges as well as in many other fields, he said, adding that the expo has become one of the major instruments in realising an ASEAN-China Free Trade Area.
The President said that ASEAN became China's largest investment partner in 2009 and two-way trade in 2011 increased by 20.9 per cent over 2010 with a total export value of $11 billion. China's foreign direct investment in the bloc last year also doubled that of a year earlier.
PM Dung later visited the friendship wall, featuring the handprints of both Vietnamese and Chinese young people.
Earlier on Thursday, the PM cut the ribbon opening the Vietnamese stands and then toured the exhibitions belonging to other ASEAN countries.
Viet Nam has the biggest number of stands among the ASEAN countries taking in CAEXPO, with 200 belonging to 90 enterprises from 18 cities and provinces, on a 3,500 square metre site.
Last year, Vietnamese businesses occupied 196 stands out of the 1,200 taken by ASEAN countries and since then 120 of those businesses have signed contracts worth $950 million.
During the expo, there will be forums on the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, the creation of eco-friendly China-ASEAN cities and an exhibition on education and training. An investment promotion between ASEAN and China will also take place.
During his time in Nanning, PM Dung met separately with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and President of Myanmar Thein Sein on September 20 and 21 respectively.
Meeting with his Laos counterpart, Dung expressed his pleasure at the development of the Viet Nam-Laos special relationship, which has deepened and become more effective in every field.
He praised the close cooperation in organising the activities to celebrate the Viet Nam-Laos Friendship Year 2012.
Dung congratulated Myanmar on its achievements in the recent past, during renovation, national reconciliation, development and international integration process while meeting Myanmar President Thein Sein.
The two leaders also spoke highly of the development of multifaceted cooperation between both countries and agreed that they should strengthen economic, trade and investment co-operation. — VNS