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China to use its influence

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday urged China to use its influence to move forward the six-party talks.

The President issued the call during the 13th ASEAN-China Summit held here at the National Convention Center.

The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program. There has been a series of meetings with six participating states –North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan. These talks were a result of North Korea withdrawing from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty in 2003. Apparent gains following the fourth and fifth rounds were reversed by outside events.

Five rounds of talks from 2003 to 2007 produced little progress until the third phase of the fifth round of talks, when North Korea agreed to shut down its nuclear facilities in exchange for fuel aid and steps towards the normalization of relations with the United States and Japan.

Responding angrily to the UN Statement issued on April 13, 2009 that condemned the North Korean failed satellite launch, North Korea declared on April 14, 2009 that it would pull out of Six Party Talks and that it would resume its nuclear enrichment program in order to boost its nuclear deterrent.

North Korea has also expelled all nuclear inspectors from the country.

Presidential Strategic Planning and Development Office Secretary Ramon Carandang, in a press briefing here, said that the Philippines proposal of increased connectivity and disaster management was eagerly supported by the Chinese among many other things.

Carandang also said that the South China Sea issue was also tackled during the meeting.

On the other hand, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said China had proposed a very detailed 2nd five-year plan of action that has six major points that hopes to promote the sustainable and sound development of the free trade area as they noted that bilateral trade was up 43 percent in the first nine months of 2010, with China having a deficit of over US$ 12 million..

Purisima said that China proposed the opening of the financial and capital markets, as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao urged all Asean countries to set up banks in China and encourage Chinese banks to set up banks in ASEAN countries.

Purisima also said that the Chinese Premier wanted to increase the bilateral currency swap that was agreed in the past and proposed the creation of a China-ASEAN interbank association.

China also proposed the strengthening of the regional cooperation in agro- economy with the setting up of 20 experimental stations and the training of a thousand agriculture personnel in China from ASEAN, as well as the building of three new agro-industrial centers in ASEAN.

Also included in China’s proposal was the implementation of the sustainable development agenda and the mutual understanding and trust between China and ASEAN preparatory to the celebration of the 20th anniversary of friendship between China and ASEAN next year.

The leaders welcomed the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free TradeArea (ACFTA) and other related agreements that started from Jan. 1, 2010. China has now become ASEAN’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade amounted to over US$ 200 billion.

The two sides also agreed to effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and enhance cooperation toward the adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), for peace, stability and cooperation in the region while disputes shall be settled peacefully in conformity with international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).

It was noted during the meeting that cooperation to address regional and international issues of common interest was necessary, particularly non-traditional challenges facing the region.

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