Report: Russia warships to enter Syria waters in bid to stem foreign intervention

Report: Russia warships to enter Syria waters in bid to stem foreign intervention

Syrian official says Damascus agrees ‘in principle’ to allow entrance of Arab League observer mission; 22-member body proposed sending hundreds of observers to the to help end the bloodshed.

By Jack Khoury and Haaretz

Russian warships are due to arrive at Syrian territorial waters, a Syrian news agency said on Thursday, indicating that the move represented a clear message to the West that Moscow would resist any foreign intervention in the country’s civil unrest.

Also on Friday, a Syrian official said Damascus has agreed “in principle” to allow an Arab League observer mission into the country.

But the official said Friday that Syria was still studying the details. The official asked not to be named because the issue is so sensitive.

The Arab League suspended Syria earlier this week over its deadly crackdown on an eight-month-old uprising. The 22-member body has proposed sending hundreds of observers to the country to try to help end the bloodshed.

The report came a day after a draft resolution backed by Arab and European countries and the United States was submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, seeking to condemn human rights violations in the on-going violence in Syria.

Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia were among Arab states that joined Germany, Britain, and France to sponsor the draft submitted to the assembly’s human rights committee. In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. would sign on as a co-sponsor of the resolution.

The draft demanded an end to violence, respect of human rights and implementation by Damascus of a plan of action of the Arab League.

The move comes as clashes escalated in Syria and after Russia and China used their veto in October to block a Security Council resolution that would have condemned the Syrian government of President Bashir for the violence.

Such a veto is not applicable in the 193-nation assembly, which will consider the issue after the human rights committee reports back to it.

The UN says more than 3,500 people have been killed since unrest erupted in spring against Assad.


India, Pakistan, and God’s Geostrategic Will

[SEE:  Investing Your Future In A Poison Peace Process   ]

India, Pakistan, and God’s geostrategic will

Praveen Swami

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, flanked by his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, S.M. Krishna and Hina Rabbani Khar, addresses the media on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Addu recently. Dr. Singh, in the address said the two nations needed to stop wasting time trading barbs and open a new chapter in their relationship.

Pakistan is unlikely to deliver justice on 26/11 — but India seems willing to gamble that the internal crisis Islamabad is beset with will compel it to keep the peace in future.

“God’s acts are never irrational,” wrote Ziauddin Najam, commander of a Pakistani strategic forces division, in a 2008 essay: an essay remarkable for both the Major-General’s unwavering belief in a divine project and his evident loss of faith in the doctrinal credo that the nation’s nuclear weapons would ensure its survival. “Pakistan was created on the night of the 27th Ramadan”, the General went on, “and is [therefore] there to stay forever: we must have faith in it.”

Major-General Najam’s despairing words could help an extraordinary effort to bring about a rapprochement in India’s fraught relationship with Pakistan — an effort more than one commentator has dismissed as a consequence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s own theology of regional peace.

Last week, after Foreign Ministers Hina Rabbani Khar and S.M. Krishna met in the Maldives, the leaders let it be known that the “trust deficit between the two countries is shrinking.” Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rahman Malik, called for the hanging of the incarcerated 26/11 assault team member Muhammad Ajmal Kasab — a man he once insisted was not from his country.

Dr. Singh later addressed his critics at home: “I did discuss with Prime Minister [Yusaf Raza] Gilani whether the Pakistan Army is fully on board to carry forward the peace process. The sense I got was that after a long time, Pakistan’s armed forces are fully on board.”

The claim, if true, is remarkable. New Delhi and Islamabad made multiple attempts to revive their fraught relationship since 26/11, but each floundered in the face of continued Pakistani military support for anti-India jihadists and unwillingness to act against the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage, the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Evidence that any of this has changed is thin — but there is some reason to believe that the Pakistan army, behind its bluster, is weaker than ever and, therefore, desperate to secure its eastern flank at a time it appears besieged from all sides.

For weeks now, Pakistan has been seeking to demonstrate its commitment to peace: the release of an Indian helicopter that strayed across the Line of Control and the tentative movement on opening trade across the border are among the signs of a thaw.

It is also clear, though, that Pakistan’s military isn’t about to turn on its Islamist proxies. Even though a judicial commission is scheduled to visit Mumbai to record the testimony required for the prosecution of 26/11 suspects being tried in a Lahore court, there is plenty of evidence that Islamabad continues to harbour terrorists — among them, men directly involved in the attack.

Sajid Mir, Lashkar commander who crafted the assault plan, has been reported by both the United States and India’s intelligence services as operating out of his family home near the Garrison Club in Lahore; Pakistan’s Federal Investigations Agency hasn’t yet got around to paying him a visit. Muzammil Bhat, who trained the assault team, is claimed by Pakistan to be a fugitive, though two journalists who went looking for the terror commander in Muzaffarabad located him without great effort. Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, sole senior Lashkar operative held for his alleged role in the attacks, has continued to communicate with his organisation from prison. Pakistan hasn’t, tellingly, even sought to question David Headley, Pakistani-American jihadist who has provided the investigators with a detailed insider account of the attacks — including the role of the Inter-Services Intelligence in directing them.

Back in December 2008, Pakistan’s envoy to the United Nations, Abdullah Haroon, promised that his country would proscribe the Lashkar’s parent organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa; the government lists released earlier this year, like those before them, do not mention the organisation.

Even the U.S. is dismayed by Pakistan’s conduct: in a recent testimony to Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced concern at Pakistan’s “continuing failure, in our view, to fulfil all of the requirements necessary for prosecution related to the Mumbai attacks.”

India’s policy establishment has long argued that Pakistan’s conduct of the 26/11 case would be a litmus test of its military’s strategic intentions. So what has led New Delhi to change course?

Pakistan’s hard-nosed generals do not likely share Dr. Singh’s almost religious beliefs about the need for peace in South Asia. Their bottom line, though, is likely this: beset with an Islamist insurgency that has undermined both its internal cohesiveness and legitimacy as a guardian of the Pakistani state, the army just cannot sustain a future crisis with India.

In 2010, things seemed quite different: Pakistan’s Army Chief Parvez Kayani bluntly told journalists that the country’s relationship with India “will not change in any significant way until the Kashmir issue and water disputes are resolved.” The proclamation came in the wake of a reversal of his predecessor’s decision to temper jihadist operations against India. In 2008, soon after General Kayani took office, the ISI authorised a murderous attack on India’s diplomatic mission in Kabul. The Lashkar’s infiltration across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir surged. Later that year, it became clear from Headley’s testimony that the ISI Directorate provided direct support for the Mumbai attack.

This aggressive posture marked a substantial change in Pakistan’s strategic thought. In a thoughtful 2002 paper, scholar George Perkovich cast light on Gen. Musharraf’s reappraisal of the Pakistani military strategy on India. Lieutenant-General Moinuddin Haider, who served as Interior Minister under President Musharraf, told Dr. Perkovich that he argued that the long-term costs of continuing to back jihadists would be higher than the potential losses from taking them on. “I was the sole voice initially,” Gen. Haider recalled, “saying ‘Mr. President, your economic plan will not work, people will not invest, if you don’t get rid of extremists’.”

Gen. Haider gathered allies — among them the former intelligence chief, Lieutenant-General Javed Ashraf Qazi. “We must not be afraid,” General Qazi said in the wake of the 2001-2002 India-Pakistan military crisis, “of admitting that the Jaish was involved in the deaths of thousands of innocent Kashmiris, bombing the Indian Parliament, [the journalist] Daniel Pearl’s murder and even attempts on President Musharraf’s life.”

Gen. Musharraf listened: in the wake of the 2001-2002 military crisis with India, which imposed crippling costs on Pakistan’s economy, he presided over a steady scaling back of support for the jihad in Jammu and Kashmir, and gradually cut back the backing for terrorist attacks elsewhere in India.

From Major-General Najam’s article, we have some sense of how these new policies were seen by his commanders. “Pakistan’s complete turnaround from its earlier policy,” Gen. Najam wrote in the 2008 issue of theGreen Book, the army’s premier internal platform for doctrinal and geo-strategic debate, “brought the state into a direct clash with a sizeable segment of its society, particularly those religious zealots who had gained considerable clout and power through exploitation of religious sentiments. Also sympathetic to these religious extremists were those deprived elements of society who for long had been denied economic and educational opportunities”.

Looking back, 26/11 was General Kayani’s Kargil — an audacious attempt to rebuild legitimacy with the religious right-wing and consolidate his position within Pakistan’s armed forces, all by advertising his commitment to their core anti-India concerns. Kargil, though, backfired — and so did 26/11. Like Gen. Musharraf, Gen. Kayani found the Pakistan armed forces’ covert support to the jihadists exposed in public — and the country under pressure.

For two years, Gen. Kayani was able to weather the 26/11 storm: the U.S. was willing to go easy on Pakistan, in return for its cooperation, however fitful, in the war against the jihadists in Afghanistan. The problem, Gen. Najam pointed out, was that a “sizeable segment of Pakistani society, rightly or wrongly, perceives Pakistan as serving [the] U.S. interest at the cost of [its] own people.” “Pakistan today,” he concluded, “finds itself in an ironic position: the more it provides support to GWOT [the Global War on Terror], the greater [the] reaction [that] develops in its society.”

In evermore desperate efforts to manage that reaction, Gen. Kayani sought deals with the jihadists acting against the Pakistani state; backed anti-U.S. jihadists in Afghanistan in an effort to secure leverage against those targeting his forces; and deepened his relationship with the anti-India groups like the Lashkar and the Jaish-e-Muhammad in an effort to befriend Islamists.

Like most trapeze acts, this one proved impossible to sustain. Following the May 2 raid that claimed Osama bin Laden’s life, ISI chief Shuja Pasha angrily told Pakistani legislators: “At every difficult moment in our history, the United States has let us down. This fear that we can’t live without the United States is wrong.”

Pakistan can, however, only live with so many enemies at once — and that is precisely the strategy opportunity Indian policymakers are seeking to benefit from.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram warned Pakistan in the months after 26/11 “not to play any more games.” “If they carry out any more attacks on India,” he said, “they will not only be defeated, but we will also retaliate with the force of a sledgehammer.” The truth is that the blows will have terrible costs for India also — costs that no sensible policymaker believes should be used to compel Pakistan to deliver justice on 26/11. The worst case scenario before the Prime Minister is that his peace gamble, like those before it, fails: but that would leave India exactly where it was the day before Ms Khar and Mr. Krishna met in the Maldives.

Pakistan’s peace cheque is post-dated, and issued on a bank in dubious health — but with else nothing in hand, New Delhi has little to lose by accepting the promise that is being held out.

Investing Your Future In A Poison Peace Process

Investing Your Future In A Poison Peace Process   

Peter Chamberlin

The Indian analyst who authored the following piece (SEE: India, Pakistan, and God’s geostrategic will) is probably giving an accurate assessment of his government’s opinion of the current status of the Pakistani military, even though both his opinion and the projected government position are probably miscalculations or misinterpretations of Pakistani gestures.  He interprets recent moves and counter-moves by the Pak. Army and its “Islamist” paramilitary forces as signs of weakness, thereby justifying taking advantage of the new “peace process” as an opening for India to seize-upon, in order to exploit those perceived weaknesses.

Like all Indian analysts, Praveen Swami makes a lot of assumptions, based on the understanding that Pakistan is “besieged on all sides,” without ever acknowledging either India’s hand in that siege or America’s primary role(or for that matter, the British or Israeli hand).  You will never hear or read an Indian writer discussing outside sponsorship of the violence which plagues parts of Pakistan, even though many Western and Pakistani writers have examined Indian/American support for anti-Pakistan terrorists in depth (SEE:  The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army–Mar 1, 2005).  The truth is, Pakistan the Nation probably is on the ropes, even though the Army is as robust as ever.  Through a clever combination of economic incentives and state-sponsored terrorism (compounded by successive, near-fatal blows from Mother Nature) Pakistan has been economically crippled and branded as an international pariah state.

The “peace process” has been sold to Pakistani leaders as a doorway out of this hellish existence, into the arms of the “community of nations,” even though entry will only be possible if Pakistan kneels before the Imperial dictates of the United States and its Indian proxies.  Pakistan’s biggest problem is its history with the CIA.  For more than thirty years, Pakistan has served as the CIA’s terrorist/jihadi laboratory, the place where the spymasters have perfected their art of “Islamist” destabilization.  This is the behavioral science of motivating indigenous Muslim populations to overthrow their own governments.  From the many years of practical experience that has been gained in Pakistan, the CIA mind-benders have established a working formula of “Islamist” agitation of highly religious, though under-educated Muslim populations, that takes advantage of the weaknesses in human nature itself, to cause the populations to rise-up against their own governments, demanding that those legitimate governments enforce a system of corrupt “Shariah Law” upon them.  This “peace process,” much like the failed Israeli/Palestinian peace process, is a delusional process, used to sell the participants a false “bill of goods” as the only “road map” to peace, even though it only leads to war.

Pakistan has many times seen the Islamist armies that it has trained turn against its trainers, usually for failure to live up to the Jihadi standards that they were taught.  These disaffected Jihadis then become active enemies of the state, such as the TTP in Waziristan and Swat.   These reversals have happened under the watchful eye and protection of that same State.  It is a moot question, at this point, whether the Army and ISI were willing players in all of this, or whether they too have fallen victim to American psywar games.  It is a process that has played-out in too many countries to be written-off to the workings of fate—the CIA mind games could never succeed without willing participants among the homeland populations.  Pakistani leaders have sold Pakistanis out, just as American leaders have continually sold Americans out.  It is the way of the Evil Empire.  You must invite the vampire into your house before he can drink your blood.

Now that this northern army has become fully activated as true enemies of the State, they work toward the same goals as the Baloch Liberation Army in the south, the destruction of the legitimate, democratically elected government of Pakistan.  Both puppet (proxy) armies dance to the same puppeteer’s tunes, but they believe that they are fighting for either Allah, or for country.  This is the glaring hypocrisy of the American Hegelian dialectic–the American government is continually building things up, to later knock them down.  Pakistan is suffering from a traditional pincer movement, but since they appear to be completely opposite in nature, with completely different goals, we tend to ignore the connection.  The AfPak region, more specifically, the Pashtun belt of that region, is being squeezed into a fluid, homogeneous mass, which can easily be pushed back and forth, to erase the invisible border which impedes American actions.

But you will hear about none of this from an Indian analyst.

American analysts are different, in that we analyze the Imperial plans from an American nationalist perspective.  Taking a patriotic angle, we look for weaknesses that will help us slay the Imperial Beast that has taken over our government and has been set loose upon the world.  We have become a fascist power in our effort to reshape the world, and realistic American analysts understand this.  Any useful analysis of world events must be based upon that premise.

The fascist power operates through a traditional “bait and switch” strategy.  They promote “Democracy” throughout the world as the primary weapon of destabilization, with the intent of crushing the results of any democratic movement in the end. We use it as bait, to tempt the targeted audience with unimagined political freedoms which will never materialize, holding them up as promised rewards for them risking their own lives in mass-movements to reform their own governments.  The switch comes after the regime is forced to change, whenever the democratic-revolution is exposed as an exercise in American Imperialism, giving the Empire veto power over any “democratic” decisions made by that government or the people they claim to represent.  After the dust of “regime change” has settled, the next American puppet government rules for as long as it can continue to repress the people.  Any elected government that doesn’t adhere to this rigid fascist formula becomes itself the next subject for regime change.

A realistic analysis of the India/Pakistani peace process would have to proceed on the assumption that the primary beneficiary will prove to be American.  If a deal between them is brokered by the US State Dept., by the Dept. of Commerce, or by the Pentagon, everyone should understand by now exactly where the big pay-off will go.  Mr. Singh is proving himself to be even more of a dupe than Zardari.  Nobody really expected anything less from Mr. Ten Percent, but the world put high hopes on Manmohan Singh.

Obama wants India and Pakistan to play nice, so that he can pretend to withdraw from Afghanistan, while leaving both of them (and the rest of the regional players) holding the bag after 2014.  Obama wants you to build and protect TAPI, which is to be the first of many pipelines on the strategic corridor to Central Asia, otherwise referred to as the “Silk Roads.”  Obama wants India to fill the great void of the former Soviet space with warm Indian bodies, some tending shiny new American-made jet fighters, others slaving in the elements on Indian road crews.

Obama wants Indian telecommunication companies as well as construction companies to help energize the CIS space, especially to build the currently non-existent road and rail networks needed to assimilate the resource bonanza.  India does stand to reap enormous financial rewards from this, if it will consent to transferring its developing industry into Central Asia, away from the Indian homeland, where it is needed even more urgently.  In Central Asia there are not enough roads because there have never been enough people, as opposed to India, where perhaps half a billion people suffer from economic deprivation that is exacerbated by a lack of development and the great investments which come with it.

Obama wants all of Afghanistan’s neighbors to lend full support to the hidden American plans, without ever revealing what they are, always with the promise of rewards beyond measure for unquestioned collaboration in that unrevealed plan.  He sells them a message of Hope, resting upon an appeal to Blind Faith in Americans and their inescapable commitment to do the Right Thing.  This is the formula for the fascist “snake oil” that Obama is peddling to get his way in the world.

The leaders of both Pakistan and India must be prepared to turn away from the American bait and switch operation at play in Afghanistan, if they want to survive without suffering through violent repercussions for their partnerships with the devil.  All Nations with peoples yearning to be free must be prepared to turn away from the fraudulent con-games which pass for world government these days, before the devil can ever be brought to his knees and humanity can finally learn what it means to be truly Free.

Indian Refusal To Bend Before US Nuclear Liability Demands Threatens Technological Transfer

U.S. “studying” Indian nuclear liability regulations


The United States State Department said that it was “in the process of studying the content” of the new rules on the Indian Nuclear Liability Act as notified by the Indian government earlier this week.

Of the two segments in the Act, which were of concern to the U.S., the Government of India’s notification on the regulations did not alter Section 46, which allows Indian citizens to file tort claims for damages. Yet it did open up a loophole for Section 17(b), which grants the Indian nuclear operator a right of recourse against nuclear suppliers if an accident results from gross negligence.

However in response to a question fromThe HinduDepartment Spokesman Mark Toner only suggested that the U.S. government was aware of the notification about the implementing regulations. He added, “Once we have reviewed them thoroughly, then we will have comment.”

The passage of the Act last year brought progress under the civilian nuclear agreement between India and the U.S. to a grinding halt. Even after India made assurances that it would accede to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation, an internationally accepted liability regime, doubts persisted on the U.S. side regarding the exposure of U.S. nuclear companies to liability. Since that time negotiations involving U.S. nuclear suppliers such as GE and Westinghouse have been underway but have produced no breakthroughs.

Wen warns ‘outside forces’ off sea disputes

Wen warns ‘outside forces’ off sea disputes

Updated: 2011-11-18 17:41


Wen warns 'outside forces' off sea disputes

Chinese Premier Wen Jaibao delivers a statement at the 14th China-ASEAN summit held on Indonesia’s Bali island, Nov 18, 2011.[Photo/Xinhua]

BALI, Indonesia – Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Friday delivered a statement at the 14th China-ASEAN summit held on Indonesia’s Bali island.

The following is the full text of the statement.

Your Excellency President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted and excited to be back in the beautiful island of Bali after a period of eight years to attend the Commemorative Summit to Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Relations. This is the right time and place for us to express our thanks and appreciation to all those who have contributed their share to boosting the growth of China-ASEAN relations and who are working to advance these relations.

The establishment of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN in 1991 is a landmark event. It demonstrates how, with strategic vision and courage, our two sides followed the trend of the times and explored ways to promote regional cooperation, thus inaugurating the historic process of China-ASEAN relations.

We have abided by the principle of mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and worked to strengthen political mutual trust. The ASEAN countries follow the one China policy, support China’s peaceful reunification, and accommodate China’s concerns on major issues of principle involving China’s sovereignty. China respects ASEAN countries’ independent choice of path of development and values,supports ASEAN in handling disputes in its own way and opposes outside interference in ASEAN’s internal affairs.

We have pursued mutual benefit, mutual support and mutual learning in the course of cooperation to achieve common development. China-ASEAN trade is expected to surpass US$350 billion this year, which is over 40 times that of 1991. China is now ASEAN’s largest trade partner, and ASEAN is the third largest trade partner of China. China has provided assistance and help with sincerity to ASEAN countries to help them boost economic development and improve people’s lives. We have also shared experience and drawn on each other’s strength in governance.

We have demonstrated solidarity in times of adversity, met challenges head-on and turned them into opportunities. We worked together to fight the 1997 Asian financial crisis and put into place the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation mechanism. We have joined hands in countering the unprecedented international financial crisis and completed the building of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area on schedule. We have extended mutual sympathy and mutual support in fighting major natural disasters and epidemics and explored ways to establish effective early-warning, prevention and control, and rescue and relief mechanisms.

We have remained firm in our commitment to peaceful coexistence and good-neighborly relations and endeavored to foster a secure and harmonious regional environment. We have resolved disputes and handled outstanding issues through dialogue and consultation. We are committed to the building of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. We cherish our traditional friendly ties and are dedicated to forging lasting China-ASEAN friendship.

Many leaders of ASEAN countries have told me that ASEAN’s relations with China are the most practical, most extensive and most fruitful. I couldn’t agree more. China and ASEAN countries are all developing countries. We pursue economic development and improvement of people’s lives as the most urgent and important task, and place top priority on bringing tangible benefits to our peoples and our region. China and ASEAN countries enjoy geographical, cultural and historical proximity, maintain close contacts and exchanges in various fields, and have unique and favorable conditions for carrying out cooperation. Being open and inclusive and acting with great perseverance, China and ASEAN countries have maintained vigor and vitality.

As strategic partners for peace and prosperity, China and ASEAN have engaged in exchanges and cooperation in wide-ranging areas and at a level unseen in the past, and we have formed a community of common destiny sharing a common stake. The tremendous achievements made by China and ASEAN have contributed significantly to improving people’s wellbeing in the region and the lofty cause of peace and development, and produced far-reaching impact on the progress of Asia and the world at large.

Dear Colleagues,

The world is undergoing profound and complex changes. The international financial crisis has entered its fourth year, and the current global economic and financial scene still gives no reason for optimism. Economic recovery in some developed countries lacks momentum, and those countries are plagued by serious financial and debt crises. Emerging and developing countries are ascending on the world stage, but taken as a whole, they are still not strong enough. Social turbulence has erupted in west Asia and north Africa. Global food, energy and environment challenges pose a growing threat to the sustainable development of mankind. The global economy may experience uncertainty and instability for a long time to come.

With sustained and rapid economic growth and social stability, East Asia is the most dynamic region in the world with the greatest potential for development, and ASEAN and China have won wide international recognition and attracted much attention for their important contribution. On the other hand, we should be keenly aware that in the era of deepening globalization, no region or country can prosper on its own and be immune to external shocks, and the severe external environment is bound to exert a negative impact on East Asia. At the same time, the weak links and problems in China and ASEAN will hinder our efforts to enhance our competitiveness. We should be both confident and sober-minded, seize opportunities to enhance cooperation and jointly tackle challenges. And we should keep our destiny firmly in our own hands and do not slacken pace or waver in our advance in the direction we have set for ourselves to pursue our goal. To promote the future growth of China-ASEAN relations, it is important that we observe the following principles:

First, we should enhance strategic consultation and mutual trust. China will never seek hegemony and is opposed to all hegemonic acts. We are committed to a policy of building good-neighborly relations and partnership with our neighboring countries, and we abide by the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. The disputes over the South China Sea between the relevant countries in the region have existed for many years. They should be settled through friendly consultation and negotiation between the sovereign states directly concerned. Outside forces should not get involved under any excuse. In 2002, China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and agreed to advance practical cooperation and work for the final conclusion of a code of conduct. This is the common desire of ASEAN countries and China. We stand ready to work actively with ASEAN countries to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, enhance practical cooperation and begin discussions on a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Second, we should pursue economic development and social progress as a top priority. Both China and ASEAN countries are in a crucial stage of development. We should better coordinate development strategies, draw on mutual strengths and promote cooperation in more fields and at a higher level. We should enhance self-generating dynamism to speed up economic development, make life better for our peoples and advance the modernization drive to achieve full prosperity in East Asia.

Third, we should adhere to ASEAN centrality in promoting East Asian cooperation. China supports ASEAN integration and community building and welcomes a stronger and more influential ASEAN. We are confident that ASEAN is fully capable of leading East Asian cooperation. China will open a permanent mission to ASEAN next year. We will continue to support ASEAN and work with it, and we will continue to take 10+1 as the foundation, 10+3 as the main vehicle and the East Asia Summit as an important supplement in pursuing East Asian cooperation.

Fourth, we should uphold our common interests in the multilateral field. As developing countries in the same region, we hold similar positions and views, face the same situations and challenges, and pursue the same goals on many key issues. China and ASEAN are both strategic forces for peace and development. We need to closely coordinate our positions and work to build a fair and equitable new international political and economic order.

Dear Colleagues,

There is a solid foundation and huge potential for China-ASEAN practical cooperation, and we are well placed to achieve more ambitious goals. We should follow closely new developments, enhance coordination, establish and improve cooperation mechanisms, deepen cooperation in priority areas and open new areas of cooperation to achieve greater success. To this end, I propose that we take the following steps:

First, expand cooperation in trade and investment. We should fully implement all the agreements on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) and improve the FTA to create more benefits to the peoples and businesses of the two sides. China will continue to send trade and investment promotion missions to ASEAN countries and open an exhibition center for ASEAN products in Nanning, Guangxi to promote sustained and balanced growth of our trade. China will increase investment in ASEAN countries, step up efforts to transfer advanced and applicable technologies to them and work with ASEAN countries to enhance our economic competitiveness.

Second, give high priority to connectivity and other infrastructural development. To promote smooth and efficient cooperation in this priority area, China proposes the establishment of a China-ASEAN committee on connectivity cooperation, with the goal of realizing land transport connectivity between China and the ASEAN countries concerned at an early date. China attaches great importance to building a network of maritime connectivity with ASEAN countries. We are ready to take active steps to open shipping routes of freezer vessels, ro/ro and container liners with ASEAN countries and facilitate passenger and cargo transport by sea. The US$15 billion credit committed by the Chinese government in 2009 has supported over 50 infrastructure projects covering almost all ASEAN countries. Here, I wish to announce that China will provide an additional US$10 billion credit, including US$4 billion preferential loans.

Third, deepen financial cooperation. China is ready to take the following steps to intensify cooperation with ASEAN countries: increase cooperation between our central banks and exchanges among financial experts; increase access to each other’s financial markets through mutual opening of branches of financial institutions; step up dialogue and cooperation between regulatory authorities; increase local currency swap and encourage the quoting of RMB and ASEAN currencies in each other’s inter-bank foreign exchange markets; phase in a cooperation mechanism on inter-bank local currency clearing and promote bilateral local currency settlement; enhance the role of the China-ASEAN Inter-Bank Association to provide diversified financial services to Chinese and ASEAN businesses; and jointly improve the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization and other regional currency swap mechanisms to fully enhance East Asia’s ability to conduct financial crisis rescue and ensure regional financial stability.

Fourth, expand practical maritime cooperation. China will establish a three billion yuan China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund. Our cooperation in this area may start with marine research and environmental protection, connectivity, navigation safety, search and rescue, and combating transnational crimes, and gradually expand into other fields, with the goal of developing multi-tiered and all-round maritime cooperation between China and ASEAN. China proposes that the two sides set up a mechanism to study the initiative and work out a plan for cooperation.

Fifth, advance cooperation in science, technology and sustainable development. China proposes that 2012 be designated the year of China-ASEAN science and technology cooperation and offers to host the first 10+1 science ministers’ meeting in China. The two sides should move quickly to sign the China-ASEAN Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation and launch partnership program in science and technology. China will work to advance exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN in green economy, energy conservation, environmental protection, new energy and renewable energy.

Sixth, work harder to promote cooperation in social areas and areas important to people’s livelihood. China is ready to set up ten vocational education and training centers to help ASEAN countries develop human resources needed in economic and social development. China proposes that the two sides establish a contact mechanism for disaster management and humanitarian assistance, share information and technology, and explore the possibility of setting up a China-ASEAN reserve center for disaster relief supplies. We also propose the opening of a China-ASEAN research center on traditional medicine. China is ready to set up a cultural ministers meeting mechanism with ASEAN. We propose that its first meeting be held next year to discuss an action plan on China-ASEAN cultural cooperation.

Today, the China-ASEAN Center is officially inaugurated. Both sides should give full support to the center so that it can facilitate the friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN.

President Yudhoyono,

Dear Colleagues,

China and ASEAN countries speak highly of the progress made in the growth of China-ASEAN relations in the past 20 years, and we have put forward important and constructive proposals on the direction and priority areas for our future cooperation. China-ASEAN relationship is solidly-based and has great potential and a promising future. China will forever be a good neighbor, good friend and good partner of ASEAN. We will work closely with you to implement all the agreements we have reached to bring more benefit to our people and make greater contribution to peace and prosperity in our region.

East Asian leaders’ meetings should shun noises to focus on cooperation

East Asian leaders’ meetings should shun noises to focus on cooperation

by Yu Zhixiao

BEIJING, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) — East Asian leaders should stick to the theme of unity, development and cooperation in search of mutual benefit during their current meetings and not be distracted by political and security disputes.

The meetings are a valuable platform for the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other countries in the region, including China and the United States, to frankly exchange views and promote cooperation, against the backdrop of a stagnant world economy and a chronic European debt crisis.

It is natural that different countries hold different stances on certain issues and even have rifts or rows. For example, China and certain Southeast Asian nations have disputes over the South China Sea.

They should be resolved through negotiations between the countries directly concerned, and external forces shouldn’t get involved under any excuse.

The disputes are bilateral issues between China and several countries involved, and not at all a rift between China and the ASEAN as a whole.

The East Asian leaders’ meetings are occasions for regional economic cooperation, not a tribunal for quarrels over complex security or maritime issues.

However, certain countries are complicating the issues by attempting to bring them to the meetings. And disappointingly, visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed a declaration with her Philippines counterpart on Wednesday to call for multilateral talks to resolve maritime disputes, such as those over the South China Sea.

China and the ASEAN have built a fruitful and constructive partnership over the past two decades, which has significantly benefited both sides. The sound China-ASEAN relationship has been a model for cooperation between developing countries.

The volume of bilateral trade has jumped from 7.96 billion U.S. dollars in 1991 to 292.78 billion dollars in 2010. That represents a 37-fold increase and an average annual growth of more than 20 percent.

China now is already ASEAN’s largest trading partner, while ASEAN is China’s third largest. The two sides have established the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA), which is the largest free trade area among developing countries.

Leaders of 18 countries, a rise from last year’s 16, will attend the sixth East Asian Summit scheduled for Saturday, with the latest additions, the United States and Russia, reflecting the region’s increasing attraction and weight.

It is important for all participants to focus on set goals to expand common ground and further promote cooperation.