According to a report by Xinhua News Agency, the 24th ASEAN Summit will be hosted in Naypyidaw, Myanmar on the 10th.  U Ye Htut, spokesperson of the President of Myanmar, the chair of ASEAN this year, emphasized during a special media interview before the summit that China has been and will always be an important force for the development and stability of ASEAN.

U Ye Htut said: since China’s reform and opening up, China has been an important partner for the development and stability of Southeast Asia. China is a key trading partner for ASEAN and a main investor for some ASEAN member states. China’s peace and stability are of high importance for ASEAN. He said: “The results of China’s peace and development can be shared with neighbors and the region. China’s economic development is conducive to the economic development of countries in the region.”

U Ye Htut said that President Thein Sein supported China’s proposal for a “2+7 Cooperation Framework” at the ASEAN 10+1 Leaders Summit last year. This proposal might be further discussed at the upcoming ASEAN summit. Myanmar wishes to implement this proposal because it is beneficial for ASEAN: It does not only reduce the gap among ASEAN members, but also fully demonstrates China’s peaceful development.

On China-ASEAN FTA, U Ye Htut said that in terms of GDP, the China-ASEAN FTA is the third largest free trade zone in the world; in terms of population, it is the largest. He believes that concerns about economic competitiveness and challenges to the development of the free-trade zone can be overcome.

U Ye Htut said that there are some standing issues between China and ASEAN, but most importantly, both sides insist on resolving their issues peacefully and through negotiations. He emphasized: “The differences among ASEAN members and between ASEAN members and China are all issues within the region and should be resolved by ASEAN members and China. Countries outside the region can do nothing more than give suggestions. All issues in our Asian region can be resolved by the five principles of peaceful coexistence. “

U Ye Htut said that as the chair of ASEAN, Myanmar’s priority is to promote the relationship between ASEAN members and dialogue partners. All issues that need negotiation and resolution should follow the basic principle of peaceful resolution.

On Myanmar-China relations, U Ye Htut said the friendly ties between the two countries have continued to develop. He emphasized that Myanmar follows an independent foreign policy and does not allow itself to be used to contain other countries or to interfere with other countries’ internal affairs. He called for the people of Myanmar and China to strengthen their understanding and communication. On the BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) economic corridor, U Ye Htut said Myanmar is located between China and India and is the trade corridor connecting Southeast Asia, South Asia and China; therefore, BCIM is a great opportunity and Myanmar welcomes strengthened ties and cooperation among the four countries.