Foreign minister makes ASEAN debut as tensions flare

Updated: 2013-07-01 02:43

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

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Foreign minister makes ASEAN debut as tensions flare

Top diplomats pose for a photo during the 14th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Brunei's capital Bandar Seri Begawan on Sunday. Jin Yi / Xinhua

The China-ASEAN FTA came into effect in 2010, and two-way trade reached $400 billion in 2012. China is now ASEAN's biggest trading partner.

Ruan said an updated version of the FTA would apply favorable policies to more products and would be "a big boost in China-ASEAN relations".

Zhang Yunling, head of Asia-Pacific studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that given the backdrop of unclear prospects for the world economy, the US pivot to the Asia-Pacific region and tensions in the South China Sea, both China and ASEAN want to strengthen their partnership. 

Wang attended on Sunday the 10+1 foreign ministers' meeting between the 10-member ASEAN and China, and the 10+3 meeting, which also involves Japan and the Republic of Korea.

On the same day, he met separately with his counterparts from Thailand, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Indonesia and Cambodia. The talks will expand on Monday and Tuesday to include the US, China, Japan, Russia and other countries across the Asia-Pacific.

The standoff on the Korean Peninsula is expected to take center stage on Tuesday at the ASEAN Regional Forum foreign ministers' meeting.

Top diplomats from ASEAN countries on Sunday called on the six nations to restart the talks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from Seoul and Tokyo were to hold a trilateral meeting on Monday, according to ROK officials.

The 10-members of ASEAN are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Xinhua and Reuters contributed to this story.

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