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ASEAN, China vow to deepen cooperation

By MO JINGXI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-06-09 07:41

The Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations is held in Chongqing, Southwest China, June 7, 2021. The foreign ministers of China and the ASEAN gathered on Monday for the meeting, which was co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Teodoro Locsin, foreign secretary of the Philippines that serves as the current country coordinator for ASEAN-China relations. [Photo/Xinhua]

China and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have pledged to deepen cooperation, advance regional economic integration and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea as their foreign ministers gathered in Chongqing for a special ASEAN-China foreign ministers' meeting in celebration of the 30th anniversary of dialogue relations.

The foreign ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas such as fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, connectivity, disaster relief and prevention, as well as sustainable development in order to take their relationship to new heights.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who co-chaired the meeting on Monday with Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, said that China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to upgrade China-ASEAN relations and usher in another 30 years of even greater cooperation.

China-ASEAN relations have developed massively, releasing great vitality and delivering enormous benefits to the 2 billion people in the 11 countries, Wang said.

Trade between China and ASEAN jumped to $684.6 billion last year from less than $8 billion three decades ago. Personnel exchanges exceeded 65 million in 2019, and there were nearly 4,500 flights between China and Southeast Asia every week.

China and ASEAN have built an important pillar for regional peace and stability, created a powerful engine for development and prosperity, and established the most successful example of Asia-Pacific regional cooperation, Wang said.

At this moment of building on past successes to further advance bilateral relations, he urged both sides to apply the successful practices of prioritizing development, enhancing mutual trust, focusing on cooperation and properly handling differences.

Wang said that China will provide a greater market and more opportunities for ASEAN members and other countries.

He made a six-point proposal including deepening anti-pandemic cooperation, agreeing on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea at an early date and upholding multilateralism.

Wang suggested that both sides explore the establishment of a panel of experts to strengthen cooperation on vaccines and work to build production and distribution centers to help make vaccines affordable and accessible in the region.

China has so far delivered 100 million doses of vaccines to ASEAN member nations, along with other anti-pandemic materials and technical assistance.

On Tuesday, Wang held a series of meetings with foreign ministers from ASEAN member countries including Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

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