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China backs Philippines for Asean rotating presidency

IANS | Beijing |

China supports the Philippines in assuming the rotating presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2017, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday.

"China hopes to push relations with Asean to a new level," Xinhua news agency reported spokesman Geng Shuang as saying.

The Chinese government has always regarded Asean as a priority in its diplomacy with neighbouring countries, said Geng.

China and Asean commemorated the 25th anniversary of dialogue relations between the two sides in September 2016.

During the meeting, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and leaders from the 10 Asean members agreed to lift China-Asean cooperation to a new level, which demonstrated the firm resolve of the two sides to deepen mutual trust and enhance cooperation, said Geng.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Asean and it is also the China-Asean year of tourism cooperation.