State Counsellor off for four-day ASEAN Summit in Singapore

14 November, 2018, 02:08 | Author: Sheila Harris
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The 10 ASEAN leaders are expected to hold its meeting with China in three related summits, namely the ASEAN Plus China Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit also with Japan and South Korea, and the the East Asia Summit also with Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States.

Speaking that the signing ceremony, Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said that ASEAN is now the fastest growing market in the world, with 330 million Internet users.

"I still hope we can hold talks based on mutual respect, balance and mutual benefits to resolve the issue".

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Singapore, November 12, 2018. He did not directly refer to China's bruising trade war with the United States.

"The global order is at a turning point", Lee said at the opening ceremony of the summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Inward-looking, protectionist policies have gained ground in ASEAN as elsewhere, he said.

Lee said ASEAN and several other major countries including India and China have made "substantive progress" on a market-opening initiative called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

"China is ready to work with all parties to discuss how we can improve free trade and make globalization healthier", Li said. "We are willing to negotiate with all sides to push ahead with free trade internationally, and we're also willing to discuss a fairer system".

Heavy Rain Arrives on Monday
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At the meetings, ASEAN and China will try to make headway in negotiations for a code of conduct for the South China Sea, which Beijing claims nearly in its entirety while ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the area.

China claims most of the South China Sea and has illegally constructed islands and military facilities in territory belonging to the Philippines and Vietnam.

Officials said the trip to the city-state is aimed at upgrading cooperative relations with ASEAN through expanding trade and people-to-people exchanges, strengthening regional crisis management capabilities and speeding up discussions on how to respond jointly to the fourth industrial revolution.

In August, Asean and China agreed on a draft code that will lay the foundations for conduct in the disputed waters.

The sailing of warships through the strategic region is a bid to enforce the idea that the sea is global waters and open to all, a stance that infuriates Beijing.

Asean and China are still negotiating for the adoption a new code of conduct to ensure peace in the tension-filled South China Sea.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged their Chinese counterparts to halt militarisation of the South China Sea, drawing a rebuke from the Chinese for sending U.S. warships close to islands claimed by Beijing.



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