Remarks by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the opening ceremony of the 20th China-ASEAN Expo – World

Chinese Premier Li Qiang addresses the opening ceremony of the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Trade and Investment Summit in Nanning, capital of South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on September 17, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Editor’s note: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addressed the opening ceremony of the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Trade and Investment Summit in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Sunday. The full text of the text is as follows:

ASEAN leaders,

Special guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


good morning! It is a great pleasure to join you in the beautiful „Green City” of Nanning for the 20th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS). Many of those present today attended the 26th China-ASEAN Summit in Jakarta ten days ago, and now we meet again in Nanning. It speaks to the intensity and depth of exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN. At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations on the opening of CAEXPO and CABIS, and warmly welcome the leaders and guests attending the event.

Over 20 years, CAEXPO and CABIS have witnessed the sustained development of China-ASEAN relations. Twenty years ago, as ASEAN’s dialogue partner, China was the first country to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, establishing a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity with ASEAN. Ten years ago, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech to the Indonesian parliament in which he proposed that China and ASEAN countries build the 21st century Maritime Silk Road and foster a China-ASEAN community with a shared future. His proposal received a positive response from ASEAN countries and opened a new chapter of friendship and cooperation between the two sides. Two years ago, at a special summit celebrating the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations, President Xi Jinping proposed that China and ASEAN should build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and harmonious home, and together with leaders of ASEAN countries, China-ASEAN It has drawn a new blueprint for the future of cooperation and development.

Over the years, we have established Unity for Strength. Committed to the path of peaceful development, we have safeguarded regional peace and tranquility in a world of turmoil and change, and collectively created the miracle of economic take-off. Our overall GDP has grown from 6.1 percent in 2002 to 21.5 percent last year, and our more than 2 billion people have improved significantly. We have sustained win-win cooperation, made progress in connectivity, and steadily improved regional economic integration and economic and trade cooperation. Trade and investments between the two sides have grown despite a weak global economy. Our trade has grown 16.8 times in the last 20 years and we have been each other’s largest trading partner for three years. Cumulative two-way investment exceeds $380 billion. We have upheld the world’s common good, jointly tackling global challenges and fostering a steady stream of collaborative excellence in poverty reduction, climate action, environmental protection and energy transition. The China-ASEAN relationship has developed into the most successful and vibrant model for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, and is a clear illustration of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

Looking back, we have every reason to be proud of these achievements and to feel curious about the trials and tribulations along the way. Looking ahead, we are hopeful and optimistic, but not without worries and anxieties. In this turbulent and complex world, we face many difficult issues and challenges that require a collective response. Against the backdrop of unprecedented global change, we need to gauge the situation and adapt to the overall trend. Most importantly, we need to keep in mind the essential principles that remain constant despite the countless changes in the world and the broad vision that has led us to where we are today. The good relations between China and ASEAN that we enjoy today are the hard-won achievements of our years of concerted efforts. In my view, the insightful proposition of friendship, honesty, mutual benefit and inclusiveness put forward by President Xi Jinping is the essential policy and vision that made this achievement possible. As the basic guide of China’s neighborly diplomacy, these four words represent the correct approach to building friendly relations with neighboring countries and hold the key to our shared endeavor for a brighter future. We must make more efforts to implement the principle of harmony, fairness, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, foster an environment of growth, prosperity, peace and tranquility and bring greater benefits to neighboring countries and regional peoples through our own development.

First, for more friendship, we need to strengthen our relationship. Linked by mountains, waterways and similar cultures, China and ASEAN countries have enjoyed deep friendship since ancient times. Close contact brings harmony to relatives and friends alike. We must make full use of various platforms of exchange to build consensus and cement emotional bonds for our common growth through regular and honest exchanges, narrow differences and improved dialogue. China will work with ASEAN in 2024 as the Year of China-ASEAN People-to-People Exchanges as an opportunity to expand cooperation in culture, tourism, training and youth to promote greater understanding and harmony among our peoples. We also make good use of CAEXPO, China International Import Expo (CIIE), Canton Fair, China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) and China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE) to present businesses. From both sides with a long-term platform for exchange and cooperation.

Second, for greater integrity, we need to establish a foundation of trust. As ancient Chinese wisdom warns, a person without credibility cannot establish himself in society, and a country without credibility will surely fall. In a world full of instability, uncertainty and unpredictable factors, reliability and good faith have become very precious. For economic and trade cooperation, nothing is more important than being honest with each other and setting fair, consistent, transparent and predictable market rules and principles. China believes in treating others with fairness and honesty, and follows this line in its relations with ASEAN countries. We hope to advance all kinds of cooperation with ASEAN countries in good faith and deliver on our agreed cooperation projects by taking concrete steps. I would like to reiterate that China remains committed to the basic government policy of deepening institutional openness in rules, regulations, management and standards, and accelerating the protection of intellectual property rights. China will make every effort to protect and promote fair competition, and create a business environment that provides a safe, secure and pleasant experience for investors from all countries.

Third, we must strengthen the bonds of common interest for mutual benefit. China and ASEAN offer each other important growth opportunities. We share extensive common interests in terms of accessing mega-scale markets, tapping economic complementarities and efficient allocation of resources. In order to achieve greater development, it is imperative that we cooperate under the principle of mutual benefit, create an even closer network of common interests, and bring the convergence of interests to a higher level. China will continue to import more specialty products from ASEAN countries and increase trade in intermediate goods with ASEAN. We must make full use of the new international land-sea trade corridor to improve regional connectivity. We need to build demonstration parks of various kinds of cooperation, expand cooperation in emerging areas such as green and low-carbon development and digital economy, and build a stable and smooth regional industrial and supply chain system. and enhance the overall competitiveness of our region.

Fourth, for greater inclusion, we must embrace a more open mind. Both China and ASEAN countries have diverse cultures and ethnicities. Our millennial interactions have nurtured our common DNA of openness and inclusiveness. Over the past decades, our region has experienced rapid growth in the course of integration. This is made possible by our shared commitment to promoting collaboration and mutual benefit through openness and inclusiveness. Asia-Pacific is big enough for all countries to grow together. As the global recovery remains rocky and growth across countries continues to struggle, it is critical for us to uphold openness and inclusiveness and strengthen solidarity and integration. China will continue to support the ASEAN-centered regional cooperation framework, better integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with other countries’ development strategies, and help ASEAN countries achieve their development goals. China will work with ASEAN countries to promote regional economic integration, ensure good progress in RCEP implementation, and accelerate negotiations on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement 3.0 to further liberalize and facilitate trade and investment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Thanks to our joint efforts over the past 20 years, CAEXPO and CABIS have grown into an important platform for regional integration and have yielded fruitful results. From this new starting point, we must continue to improve and make better use of the platform to strengthen exchanges, strengthen friendships, create more business opportunities and share more benefits. Let’s work together to build a closer community with a shared future and create a more prosperous and bright future.

In conclusion, I wish the program a complete success.



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