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Chinese premier calls for continuous development of East Asia's economy

BALI, Indonesia, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday that an immediate task for East Asian nations in the face of the global financial crisis was to maintain continuous, rapid development of the region's economy.

Addressing the 6th East Asia Summit, Wen said East Asian nations should provide momentum for the world economy's robust, sustainable and balanced development.

"We should continue to strengthen cooperation and the summit should play a strategic role in this regard," he said.

Wen put forward a five-point proposal for boosting the regional economy:

First, coping with the international economic and financial crisis should continue to be regarded as a priority, he said.

East Asian nations should implement appropriate fiscal and monetary policies in accordance with their national conditions, shore up market confidence, and enhance coordination in the macro-economic policy and financial cooperation.

Second, Wen said the region should earnestly carry out and improve agreed free trade arrangements, steadily advance the building of new free trade areas, and further open markets.

The Chinese premier called on East Asian nations to counter protectionism and properly handle international trade frictions.

Third, the region should encourage expansion of investment and increase investor confidence, he said.

It should boost the inner drive for its development through such ways as industrial transfer and regional interconnection, Wen said.

Fourth, he called for prioritizing sustainable development as a long-term cooperative goal, stronger cooperation in key fields, help for East Asian countries to transform their economic development model, and intensified cooperation in such areas as energy-saving, environmental protection, education and disaster control, so as to enhance development potential.

His final point urged overcoming challenges brought by non-traditional security threats to create a better environment for development, and strengthening cooperation in the fields of information exchange, capacity building and emergency response.

Wen said that, as a strategic forum, the EAS facilitated mutual understanding and cooperation between East Asian nations.

"Under the new situation, we should continue to regard the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the dominant power of cooperation at the summit and make efforts to seek and expand interest junctions," he said.

China was willing to work with all sides to make the summit more fruitful and benefit more countries and peoples, the Chinese premier said.

Echoing Wen's remarks, participants at the summit said under the current international political and economic situation, East Asian cooperation should continue to wield the influence of ASEAN domination and the existing mechanism to intensify mutual support and coordination, and deepen cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, finance, food security, energy security and disaster relief.

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