Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Australian counterpart. (Source: Xinhua/VNA)

Hanoi, (VNA) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called for accelerating negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to create the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

Beijing is open to any regional trade agreement that benefits regional economic integration and free trade, he was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying at a news conference after the fourth China-Australia Strategic and Diplomatic Dialogue in Canberra on February 7.

According to Wang Yi, among regional and subregional cooperation mechanisms in Asia-Pacific, some are making good progress while others have lost momentum, but either the RCEP or TPP or any other regional arrangement isa possible path to the broader FTAAP.

He urged relevant sides to speed up talks on the RCEP to achieve the common goal of creating FTAAP.

Initiated in November 2012, RCEP talks include the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its six dialogue partners – China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

RCEP member countries are estimated to make up 29 percent of global trade.

RCEP has gone through 16 rounds of negotiation, with the latest round held in December 2016 in Indonesia.

The 17th round of negotiations is set to take place in Japan in February 2017.

Within the framework of the RCEP, countries plan to remove tariff barriers for 80 percent of goods.-VNA