BEIJING, Sept. 3 -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's keynote speech at an event with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will help the two sides push forward their relations and promote regional peace, stability and prosperity, foreign experts say.
During his speech at the 10th China-ASEAN Expo, which runs from Tuesday to Friday in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Li called on the two sides to work together for common development.
Li's speech demonstrated the Chinese government's sincerity and attention to ASEAN, said Eng King Sia, a Malaysian news commentator.
It is necessary for China to develop relations with ASEAN and the two sides share great potential for cooperation in such fields as trade, economy and culture, said Eng, who is also assistant editor-in-chief of Oriental Daily, a Chinese-language newspaper in the country.
Oh Ei Sun, former political secretary to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, said Li showed a pragmatic style in his speech that summed up the development process of China-ASEAN relations.
On Li's five-point cooperation initiative, he said China and ASEAN have worked well together to build a free trade area and advance regional connectivity, adding that the two sides should put more efforts in financial and maritime cooperation and cultural exchanges.
Ibrahim Yusuf, chairman of the executive board of Indonesia's Council on World Affairs, called Li's initiative an important policy and plan.
ASEAN member countries need China's support in the face of currency devaluation, he said, citing the Asian financial crisis in 1997 as an example.
Gowit Wongsurawat, a professor of political science at Kasetsart University of Thailand, said Li's speech sent a promising signal for further cooperation with ASEAN in the next decade.
He believed that with concerted efforts from all parties, China and ASEAN will have broad prospects for cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and investment when the bloc completes economic integration in 2015.
Nguyen Dang Phat, director of the economic news department of Vietnam's state-run news agency VNA, said it is an expectation not only for China, but also for ASEAN member countries, to build a "diamond decade" together.
The "diamond decade," which reflects these countries' desire for common development, should be realized, he said.
U Win Ting, editor-in-chief of Myanmar's Union Daily, said Li's speech is of great significance for the development of China-ASEAN relations.
Myanmar has a geographical advantage and could serve as a bridge between China and ASEAN countries, he said.
Oliver Go, a well-known columnist in the Philippines, said Li's speech demonstrated that China's good-neighborly and friendly policy toward ASEAN is a long-term strategy and priority of the country.
Li put forward his five-point initiative on an equal footing with ASEAN, he said, adding that China and the regional bloc should suppress the interference of Washington's so-called "pivot to Asia" policy and strengthen and deepen cooperation.
Ros Chantraboth, a member of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said Li's speech clearly showed that China, from a generation of its leaders to another generation, is willing to continue to build closer relations and cooperation in the region, particularly with ASEAN countries.
"We welcome Premier Li's speech as it will bring both China and ASEAN towards peace and prosperity," he said. "The development of ASEAN region cannot be separated from China's help."
Sok Touch, deputy chief of the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said Li's speech truly reflects China's intention to further enhance economic ties with ASEAN "as the region is a super power in markets with the population of more than 600 million."
"His speech will bring closer ties in economy and trade (between the two sides)," he said.