VIENTIANE -- With its inevitable rise, China has become a "positive influence" on the economic growth and cooperation of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Tuesday.
The PM made the remark with a group of foreign correspondents on the sideline of the Ninth Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in the Lao capital Vientiane.
He urged ASEAN countries to actively engage with China. "With its inevitable rise, China can be a positive influence in terms of economic development particularly in this part of world."
As a major global player, China has been providing impetus to the economic development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the bloc's members like Laos is getting a lot of injection of Chinese capital for developing the region's hotspots like the Mekong area, said Najib.
"If you look to this part of the world, they see China as a strong and benign economic force."
As for China's role in facilitating Europe's economic recovery, Najib, who once served as Malaysia's Minister of Finance, said European countries hope that China could rebalance its economy, put less emphasis on export but on boosting domestic demand.
The two-day event, the ASEM Summit, the biggest international conference the country has ever hosted, gathers heads of state, government as well as ministerial officials from its 51 members. Global economy and financial situation top the meeting's agenda.
Within the frameworks of ASEAN, ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, ASEAN Summit, among others, said Najib, there is enough "collective will" to ensure that ASEAN and China could work in a very cooperative way.
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