HUA HIN, Thailand, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday proposed strengthening cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan and South Korea to combat the global financial crisis.
"Tackling the global financial crisis should remain the top priority for countries in the region at present," Wen said at the 12th summit between ASEAN and China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN Plus Three) at the Thai beach resort of Hua Hin.
The countries within the ASEAN Plus Three system should further promote integration, peace and prosperity in the region by launching concrete cooperation efforts, he added.
Wen said steadfast efforts should be made to tackle the global financial crisis, and appropriate fiscal and monetary policies should continue to be adopted to promote stable economic growth.
Wen said he hoped the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), a 120-billion-U.S.-dollar regional reserve pool aimed at providing emergency liquidity for countries in financial crisis, could be launched by the end of this year.
He pledged 200 million dollars to the region's credit guarantee and investment fund.
Countries in the region should also step up efforts to develop the Asian bond market, he said.
On trade and investment within the region, Wen proposed streamlining customs clearance and investment approval procedures and expanding support for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Countries in the region should take measures to move toward an East Asia Free Trade Area step by step through the ASEAN Plus One and the ASEAN Plus Three mechanisms, Wen said.
China was willing to take the lead in promoting economic and trade cooperation among the countries in the ASEAN Plus Three system, he said.
Wen also proposed measures aimed at boosting interconnection and intercommunication, common development and the overall competitiveness of the region.
Leaders at the summit agreed that countries in the region needed to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in fields including trade, finance, energy, food security and disaster prevention and mitigation.
Coordination should also be enhanced on issues such as climate change and the reform of the international financial system, they said.
Wen arrived at Thailand on Friday to attend a series of meetings related to ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and the summits' host, Thailand.