China seeks $1tr trade with ASEAN by 2020

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Xi Jinping Indonesia
China’s President Xi Jinping (left) and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

China’s President Xi Jinping, who on October 3 became the first foreign leader to address the Indonesian parliament, pledged more investment initiatives to bolster ties with ASEAN, seeking a $1 trillion trade goal by 2020 with the region at a time when US President Barack Obama had to call off his ASEAN visits due to the mess at home.

Xi said China was ready to enhance political and strategic trust with ASEAN members and reinforce China’s role as a major regional trading and investment partner despite the territorial conflicts in the South China Sea.

Xi also restated the proposal to establish a regional infrastructure investment bank, an initiative he raised during a visit to the region in March 2013.

Professor Zhang Mingliang, a specialist in Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University, said Xi’s speech was symbolic as it underlined China’s significance in the region.”Even if [US President Barack] Obama were to be invited to give a speech to the parliament, he would be the second one to do so, not the first one,” he said.

Indonesia has played an active role in raising disputes with China through the ASEAN platform and it has dismissed as illegal the “nine-dash line” Beijing has drawn around most of the South China Sea to mark its territorial claims.

As the region’s biggest economy and population, Indonesia has also served as an intermediary on important issues.

Xi made no direct reference to the South China Sea in his address. Instead, he said China and “certain Southeast Asian countries” must use peaceful methods and friendly talks to address disagreements over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

China’s President Xi Jinping (left) and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

China’s President Xi Jinping, who on October 3 became the first foreign leader to address the Indonesian parliament, pledged more investment initiatives to bolster ties with ASEAN, seeking a $1 trillion trade goal by 2020 with the region at a time when US President Barack Obama had to call off his ASEAN visits due to the mess at home.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Xi Jinping Indonesia
China’s President Xi Jinping (left) and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

China’s President Xi Jinping, who on October 3 became the first foreign leader to address the Indonesian parliament, pledged more investment initiatives to bolster ties with ASEAN, seeking a $1 trillion trade goal by 2020 with the region at a time when US President Barack Obama had to call off his ASEAN visits due to the mess at home.

Xi said China was ready to enhance political and strategic trust with ASEAN members and reinforce China’s role as a major regional trading and investment partner despite the territorial conflicts in the South China Sea.

Xi also restated the proposal to establish a regional infrastructure investment bank, an initiative he raised during a visit to the region in March 2013.

Professor Zhang Mingliang, a specialist in Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University, said Xi’s speech was symbolic as it underlined China’s significance in the region.”Even if [US President Barack] Obama were to be invited to give a speech to the parliament, he would be the second one to do so, not the first one,” he said.

Indonesia has played an active role in raising disputes with China through the ASEAN platform and it has dismissed as illegal the “nine-dash line” Beijing has drawn around most of the South China Sea to mark its territorial claims.

As the region’s biggest economy and population, Indonesia has also served as an intermediary on important issues.

Xi made no direct reference to the South China Sea in his address. Instead, he said China and “certain Southeast Asian countries” must use peaceful methods and friendly talks to address disagreements over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights.

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