Premier Li Keqiang exchanged congratulatory messages with Thongloun Sisoulith, the prime minister of Laos, on July 19, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN relations.
Laos holds the rotating presidency of ASEAN this year.
Premier Li said in the message that ASEAN is a friend and neighbor of China. During the 25 years of dialogue, both sides have enjoyed mutual respect, trust and support. Going through many challenges, China and ASEAN have reached effective cooperation, not only bringing benefits to ordinary people, but also setting up an example of cooperation between large and small countries.
China lauds the founding of the ASEAN community, Premier Li said, adding that it was a pleasure for China to see ASEAN exerting more influence in international affairs. China will always support the integration of its southern neighbors and will work with ASEAN to expand diplomatic ties and make more contributions to regional peace, stability and prosperity, he said.
In the message, Sisoulith expressed earnest congratulations to China on behalf of ASEAN. He said the relationship between China and ASEAN has been developing rapidly since the two sides set up the dialogue relationship. Bilateral cooperation has expanded to political security, economy and culture. Among the dialogue partners of ASEAN, China is the first to join The Treaty on Southeast Asian Friendly Cooperation and the first to become a strategic partner.
Both sides should use the China-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in September 2016 as a chance to plan future cooperation, Sisoulith said. He added that ASEAN hoped to further develop the strategic partnership with China, making larger contributions to the world.