Beijing: With a number of ASEAN countries seeking the US’ help in resolving territorial disputes with it, Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday assured them that China "will be a good neighbour" and announced that his country will spend an extra USD 17 million to promote regional cooperation in Asia.
"China will be a good neighbour to ASEAN countries," Wen was quoted as saying at the East Asian Summit in Vietnamese capital Hanoi by the state-run China Daily.
"The two sides will continue to insist on peace and development, on the basis of friendly relations and cooperation, to make sure the partnership between China and ASEAN moved ahead," he said during his meeting with the leaders.
Besides taking part in the summit, Wen also met several leaders of the ASEAN countries on the sidelines of the meeting.
Wen also offered a six-point proposal to further enhance the strategic partnership between China and ASEAN.
The plans included promoting rapid development of economic relations and trade between the two sides, improving infrastructure interconnectivity, integrating the financial market, expanding agro-economic cooperation, increasing investment in sustainable development and expanding exchanges between people from the two sides.
Wen announced that China will spend an extra USD 17 million to promote regional cooperation in Asia.
Wen`s meetings with ASEAN leaders is taking place against the background of China`s wariness over US proactive role in the disputes between China and some of the ASEAN countries, whose leaders recently held a summit meeting with President Barack Obama.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of mounting pressure on China over its currency and maritime territorial disputes in South China sea and concerns like increasing US presence in Asia.
Some analysts say that US` involvement in the meeting shifts its focus from economic issues to political ones, and that the US tends to combine territorial disputes in the region with other political issues, it said.
"The US is seeking to gain a foothold in Asia, as well as a member country status in the East Asia Summit, in the context of containing China," Jin Canrong, vice director of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, said .
Jin said that the 10 ASEAN countries are probably concerned with China`s rapid rise, and they want to use the US and Russia to counterbalance China.
Cheng Chongren, a professor with the Institute of International Relations at Fudan University, said that "the US is seeking to gain a foothold in Asia, as well as a member country status in the East Asia Summit, in the context of containing China."