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ASEAN FMs' visit to bolster relations, friendship

By Zhou Jin | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-03-31 07:10

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying, file photo. [Photo/China Daily]

Four foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries will visit China from Wednesday to Friday in a bid to deepen anti-pandemic cooperation and jointly build the Belt and Road with high quality.

The ministers are Singapore's Vivian Balakrishnan, Hishammuddin Hussein from Malaysia, Indonesia's Retno Marsudi and Teodoro Locsin from the Philippines.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news conference that China hopes to strengthen communication on regional and international situations with members from the ASEAN members through their visits.

According to Hua, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has set foot on almost all countries in Southeast Asia, while many foreign ministers and key cabinet members from Southeast Asian countries have also visited China.

"The visit of the four ministers once again demonstrates the profound friendship between China and its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia through closer interactions," she said.

Southeast Asia is also one of the first destinations of Wang's overseas visits this year, which took him to Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines in January.

Southeast Asian countries are China's friendly neighbors connected by land and sea, as well as important partners of the Belt and Road Initiative, Hua said.

China always attaches great importance to its relationship with Southeast Asian countries, and always takes those countries as a priority of its neighboring diplomacy, she said.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China and Southeast Asian countries have also maintained close high-level communication and have made positive progress in anti-pandemic cooperation, she added.

Chinese vaccines have already been shipped to the four countries to help in combating the virus.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the dialogue relations between China and ASEAN.

Last year, the bloc surpassed the European Union to become China's biggest trade partner, with their bilateral trade volume exceeding $684.6 billion. China has been ASEAN's largest trade partner for 12 consecutive years.

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