China Focus: Northeast Asian countries eye closer ties to boost global economy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-27 16:46:20|Editor: Li Xia
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CHANGCHUN, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Politicians and business people have called on Northeast Asian countries to strengthen cooperation and make greater contributions to the global economy at an expo in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province.

The 12th China-Northeast Asia Expo which concluded Tuesday had attracted around 600 exhibitors from over 40 countries and regions to seek cooperation opportunities in Northeast Asia, one of the most dynamic regions in the world.

With a population of nearly 1.7 billion, Northeast Asia, consisting of China, Russia, Japan, Mongolia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea (ROK), generates one fifth of the world's total GDP, according to official data.

In 2018, the trade volume between China and the five other countries in the region surpassed 758 billion U.S. dollars, nearly a quarter of China's total foreign trade volume. China has become the largest trading partner of each of its five Northeast Asian neighbors.

China is willing to continue working with the Greater Tumen Initiative members to further coordinate development strategies and promote practical cooperation, so as to bring prosperity to the region, said Wang Shouwen, vice minister of commerce, at the expo.

Bulgantuya Khurelbaatar, vice finance minister of Mongolia, said Mongolia is willing to cooperate with relevant countries in strengthening infrastructure connectivity and promoting trade development as well as investment facilitation.

China, Japan and the ROK play a pivotal role in regional cooperation, the development and opening-up of Northeast Asia.

Japan and the ROK are China's second and third largest trading partners, respectively. China's trade with each of the two countries surpassed 300 billion dollars last year.

With rich natural resources and a sprawling transport network, China's northeastern region is home to an array of Japanese-funded enterprises.

Yoshihiro Seki, Japan's state minister of economy, trade and industry, said Sino-Japanese relations have returned to the normal track, and Japan looks forward to further strengthening third-party market cooperation while supporting Japanese enterprises in creating more jobs in China, especially in northeast China, and promoting local economic growth.

Chi Fulin, head of the China Institute for Reform and Development, suggested the Northeast Asian region speed up the construction of several third-party market cooperation demonstration zones and promote cooperation between China, Japan and the ROK in third-party markets.

Meanwhile, Chi said Northeast Asia should jointly promote the construction of electricity facilities, take the lead in cooperation in the fields of electric vehicles and smart grids, and strengthen joint efforts in environmental governance issues.

People-to-people exchange is another important area for cooperation. Governments at various levels from the six countries are called on to strengthen ties in fields such as tourism, culture, education and sports.

Regional cooperation can play a big role in advancing people-to-people exchange and creating a bond of friendship and mutual understanding, said Leonid Slutsky, head of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma.

With the theme of "enhancing mutual trust and cooperation to create beautiful prospects for Northeast Asia," the expo reflected the common aspiration of the participating states to pursue regional prosperity and development.

First held in 2005, it has become an important platform for the countries in Northeast Asia to build common consensus and enhance cooperation.