JAKARTA — China called for deeper cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) so as to achieve mutual development as the regional bloc marks its 50th anniversary this year.
The call was made by Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Xu Bu when addressing a seminar titled “ASEAN at 50: A New Chapter for ASEAN-China Relations” held here on July 15.
“We should seize the opportunities and waste no time to move our relations onto a higher plane,” the ambassador said.
China and ASEAN should push forward win-win cooperation in connectivity, production capacity, promoting trade and investment, and reaping benefits from the upgraded protocol of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA).
The two economies should combine their strength and potential to carry out those efforts, aimed at synergizing China’s Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN Vision 2025 in the future, he added.
“China is also ready to promote and support the growth of sub-regional frameworks such as the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and the East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) to assist in narrowing the development gaps within ASEAN and move forward ASEAN community building,” Xu said.
Prioritizing dialogues to settle regional issues, respecting each other’s concerns and national condition were also part of efforts that need to be implemented to improve the strategic partnership between China and ASEAN, the ambassador said.
Ambassador Xu added that close relations between China and ASEAN is an inseparable part of the strategic partnership between the two.
To make the two sides closely know each other, China and ASEAN need to enhance cooperation on cultural, science, technology, environmental protection, tourism sectors and intensify exchanges among youth, media organizations, think tanks and local provinces, he said.
Hailing Ambassador Xu’s remarks, ASEAN Deputy Secretary General for Community and Corporate Affairs AKP Mochtan said that intensifying contacts between communities of the two economies was a bright idea as it would create good foundation towards synergizing the goals of Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN Vision 2025.
“Excellent community-to-community contact will lead to a civilization based on shared destiny community,” Mochtan said at the seminar.
China established dialogue relationship with ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, in 1991. The two sides forged a strategic partnership in 2003.
China continues to be the largest trading partner of ASEAN, and ASEAN is China’s third largest trade partner.
Two-way trade was recorded at $452.2 billion last year. Combined two-way investment had exceeded $183 billion by the end of this May.