Beijing on Friday pledged to advance China-ASEAN connectivity and FTA development in a bid to lift trade, while reiterating that China will not seek dominance through its growing economy.
Analysts said increasing trade and economic ties have become an effective engine to ensure China-ASEAN ties stay on track as they have been recently shadowed by maritime claims.
Addressing the annual China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, Vice-President Xi Jinping asked the regional countries to advance connectivity, which he said is "a measure of strategic importance" for integration and economic competitiveness.
China is actively preparing for the establishment of the Chinese Committee on China-ASEAN Connectivity and will set up exchanges with ASEAN agencies.
"We are also ready to set up an investment and financing platform for connectivity, step up land connectivity with ASEAN countries, build maritime connectivity networks and expand cooperation in areas such as ports, maritime logistics and port industries," said Xi.
ASEAN members are among the top destinations for Chinese enterprises going global, and a key source of foreign investment in China in recent years.
Strengthening land and maritime connectivity has been a key part for both China and ASEAN to lift trade ties.
Trade between China and ASEAN surged from $7 billion in the early days of China-ASEAN relations to $362.8 billion last year.
China and ASEAN have a trade volume target of $500 billion by 2015.
The business summit, together with the China-ASEAN EXPO, which convenes at the same time, has become a major platform to realize goals set by the China-ASEAN FTA.
The China-ASEAN FTA, launched two years ago, covers 1.9 billion people.
China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner for three consecutive years and ASEAN has become China's third largest trading partner.
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