Premier Li Keqiang offers more training for Asean officials

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 4:30am

Premier Li Keqiang pledged to provide more training for officials from Southeast Asian nations, in China's latest move to build trust with neighbours wary about its growing strength.

In meetings leaders from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Li called for more people-to-people exchanges and greater mutual understanding. Human resources was one area of training in which they could co-operate, he said, as well as on expanded investment and infrastructure.

China has been providing training for Asean officials - the China Guangxi Youth International Institute, backed by the Communist Youth League, has held 26 training programmes for about 1,000 Asean officials since 2002.

The stepping up of training for Asean officials comes as China's ties with its neighbours are dogged by territorial disputes and as other major regional powers are keen to build ties with the bloc.

Professor Zhang Mingliang , a specialist in Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University, said some training programmes provided by Beijing dealt with the Chinese legal system. "These programmes help Asean officials to deal with China," he said. "Beijing can nurture Asean officials who know and support China in the longer run. This is a strategic move to build trust."

Professor Jia Xiudong , from the China Institute of International Studies, said through the training programmes China could assess the development needs of Southeast Asian nations and see if it could provide further assistance.