Nusa Dua: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday said Beijing would offer its Southeast Asian neighbours USD 10 billion in infrastructure loans, as he sought to deepen trade ties in the region.
   
He made the announcement in a speech at China's meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders on the Indonesian island of Bali, after Beijing in
2009 announced a similar USD 15 billion loan to the region.
   
The earlier loan "has supported more than 50 infrastructure development projects, involving almost all ASEAN countries," said Wen.
   
He said China and the 10-member regional bloc should enhance financial cooperation, including "local currency swap and encourage the quoting of China's yuan and ASEAN currencies in each other's inter-bank foreign exchange".
   
China has an ambitious goal to turn the yuan, also known as the renminbi, into a global currency rivalling the dollar.
   
"China-ASEAN relationship is solidly based and has great potential and a promising future," said Wen, promising China would "forever be a good neighbour, good friend and good partner" of ASEAN.
   
"We will work closely with you to implement all the agreements we have reached to bring more benefit to our people and make greater contribution to peace and prosperity in our region," he said.
   
Wen announced the establishment of a 3.0 billion yuan (USD 470 million) fund to step up maritime cooperation with ASEAN states that covers marine research, navigation safety,
combating transnational crimes, among others.

Agencies