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News10th ASEAN-China senior transport officials meeting begins in Cambodia

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PHNOM PENH, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The 10th ASEAN-China senior transport officials meeting kicked off here on Wednesday, focusing on ASEAN-China maritime consultation mechanism, ASEAN-China air transport agreement, and joint ASEAN-China activities for 2012.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Yang Zan, deputy director general of China's Transport Ministry's International Cooperation Department, said this year marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of transport cooperation relations between China and ASEAN.

"In the past decade, both sides have conducted a series of pragmatic cooperation activities, which has greatly enhanced infrastructure connectivity and transport facilitation by air, sea and land," he said.

He recalled that at the recently concluded 14th China-ASEAN Summit held in Bali, leaders of both sides agreed to establish a China-ASEAN committee on connectivity cooperation and an additional 10 billion U.S. dollar loans would be provided by China to promote land transport connectivity between China and the ASEAN countries.

Also, the leaders of both sides attached great importance to building a network of maritime connectivity between China and ASEAN countries and proposed to take active steps to open shipping routes of freezer vessels and container liners to facilitate passenger and cargo transport by sea.

Yang Zan said for this cooperation, China would establish a 3 billion yuan (471 million U.S. dollars) China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund to expand practical maritime cooperation, including marine research and environmental protection, connectivity, navigation safety, search and rescue, and combating transnational crimes.

"China will continue, as always, to work closely with our ASEAN counterparts and make greater contribution to the China- ASEAN transport cooperation," he said.

Leng Thun Vuthea, undersecretary of state at Cambodia's Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said the relationship between ASEAN and China in transport sector has been aggressively evolving from time to time and now reached high level of mature and understanding.

"China plays a significant role in active participation and cooperation in ASEAN, particularly in focused areas such as transport infrastructure and connectivity that could enhance international and cross border transportation and facilitation in key ASEAN- China transport corridors," he said in the meeting.

"However, we need to speed up our sustainable and comprehensive cooperation in the transport sector for mutual benefit and trust, which will contribute to the social and economic development of the Southeast Asian nations in order to bring peace and prosperity of ASEAN and the world," he added.

At the mean time, he said that the ASEAN-China air transport agreement initiative would establish an efficient and competitive air transport between ASEAN and China to enhance trade, investment and tourism and moving forwards to air transport liberalization in the near future.

The 10th ASEAN and China senior transport officials meeting was a preparatory meeting ahead of the 10th ASEAN-China Transport Ministers meeting, which will kick off on Dec. 16.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) group Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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