Building a closer community with a shared future between China and ASEAN

TGVN. China firmly supports ASEAN community building, ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation and a greater role of ASEAN in international and regional affairs.
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At the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting on COVID-19. (Photo: Reuters)

China and ASEAN countries are close neighbors connected by mountains and rivers. Over the past 29 years of our dialogue relations, especially the past 17 years of our strategic partnership, the two sides have established multi-layered and multi-sectoral dialogue and cooperation mechanisms, overcome a host of major crises, including the Asian and international financial crises, SARS and influenza outbreaks. The growing ties and substantive cooperation have brought tangible benefits to the people of China and ASEAN countries. China-ASEAN relationship has become one of the most dynamic and substantive relationships between ASEAN and its dialogue partners.

This year, the world is hit by an unexpected novel coronavirus pandemic, which heavily affected regional countries. To win the fight against the pandemic and minimize its economic and social impact on regional countries, China actively facilitated ASEAN-China, Japan, ROK special summit on COVID-19, became the first to hold a Special Foreign Ministers' Meeting on COVID-19 with ASEAN, and convened several ministerial meetings in healthcare and economy sectors and expert videoconferences. This fully shows China-ASEAN friendship of helping each other and tiding through major crises together, and is consistent with the important spirit of building a community with a shared future for mankind advocated by President Xi Jinping. Meantime, notwithstanding the heavy blow the pandemic has dealt to global trade, China-ASEAN trade volume increased in the first quarter, and ASEAN overtook the EU to become China’s largest trading partner. This speaks volumes to the resilience and potential of China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation.

Always viewing ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, China is dedicated to working with ASEAN for a high-level strategic partnership and a close community with a shared future. China firmly supports ASEAN community building, ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation and a greater role of ASEAN in international and regional affairs. On the basis of implementing the consensus already reached, China hopes to work with ASEAN to advance cooperation in the following areas:

First, enhance synergy in our strategic plans. Promote greater strategy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 under the guidance of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, consolidate “3+X” cooperation framework, and strengthen cooperation in the three pillars of political security, economy and trade, people to people exchanges to raise China-ASEAN strategic partnership to a high level.

Second, foster new highlights of cooperation. Seize the opportunities of China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation to expand cooperation in new areas including digital economy, e-commerce, smart city and 5G while deepening cooperation in traditional economic and trade areas. Work together to build a China-ASEAN blue economic partnership and step up cooperation in the sustainable use of ocean resources, among others, to enrich China-ASEAN strategic partnership.

Third, consolidate people to people exchanges. Support more people to people exchange programs while putting in place necessary pandemic prevention measures and make full use of the ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship Program to strengthen exchanges between the people, especially the youths and to enhance mutual understanding, friendship and bond.

Fourth, uphold multilateralism. The pandemic has compounded instability and uncertainty in the world landscape. Protectionism, unilateralism are bringing more daunting challenges to multilateral rules, international order and regional situation. Adhering to multilateralism is in the shared interests of China and ASEAN countries. We need to advocate openness, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, and jointly oppose all sorts of unilateralism and protectionism.

Building a closer community with a shared future between China and ASEAN
Ambassador of China to Vietnam Xiong Bo.

Fifth, safeguard regional peace and stability. Advance COC consultation while overcoming interference, and jointly formulate a regional maritime code. Further expand exchanges and cooperation in defence, security and law enforcement and address all kinds of security challenges facing this region together.

Sixth, strengthen joint pandemic prevention and control efforts and public health cooperation. At this moment, continuing to consolidate the achievement of overcoming the pandemic and minimize its economic and social implications is an important agenda for all countries in this region. China and ASEAN should implement consensus already reached and step up efforts of joint prevention and control to curb the spread of the pandemic and explore long-term cooperation mechanisms with a view to building a public health community with a shared future for mankind. We should advocate a UN-centered global public health and security governance system, strengthen cooperation and coordination with the WHO, and support the WHO in playing a leading role in international cooperation against the pandemic. We need to jointly take necessary steps to ensure stable and smooth global industrial chains and supply chains in the post-pandemic era, conclude the signing of RCEP this year and promote sustained economic growth in East Asia.

Vietnam is the incumbent ASEAN Chair, also an important partner of China. This year, Vietnam has played an active role as ASEAN Chair. It worked closely with China in coordinating the ASEAN-China, Japan, ROK special summit on COVID-19 and the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting on COVID-19, and made positive efforts in experience sharing and cooperation in fighting the pandemic. It is the absolute main force in promoting China-ASEAN trade. With our bilateral trade taking up 25.8% of China’s trade with ASEAN, Vietnam has injected important impetus to the growth of China-ASEAN trade against the downward trend in global trade during the pandemic. China supports Vietnam to fulfill its mandates as ASEAN Chair and hopes to work with Vietnam to smooth economic cycles in our respective countries and in the region, elevate economic cooperation, adhere to multilateralism and free trade, and discuss new forms of cooperation in the “new normal” with a view to resuming work and production, and boosting economic growth and as part of our positive efforts to enrich the substance of China Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and promote the healthy and stable growth of China-ASEAN relationship.

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Xiong Bo
Ambassador China to Vietnam