China, ASEAN vow to further enhance ties

China and member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have pledged to further enhance their diplomatic relations, media reports said on Friday.

According to the reports, this commitment was made following a meeting between Chinese Foreign, Minister Wang Yi, and ASEAN Secretary-General, Lim Jock Hoi, in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei’s capital city.

Wang noted that the China-ASEAN relations are the most dynamic and fruitful ones and have become an important pillar for regional peace and stability, development and prosperity.

He said China appreciates the important contribution made by the ASEAN Secretariat to promote the development of China-ASEAN ties and cooperation in combating COVID-19 pandemic.

Wang expressed his hope that both sides organise a series of commemorative events to mark the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relations this year.

This, he said, would entail implementing the five-year action plan, elevate the China-ASEAN relations, and build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.

He further said China was willing to work with ASEAN to improve the level of cooperation in public health and carry out COVID-19 vaccine cooperation with more ASEAN countries.

China, he added, would work together with ASEAN countries to build a blue economy partnership and jointly make the China-ASEAN Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation a success.

He stressed that China would strengthen cooperation in digital economy and people-to-people exchanges, among other areas.

Wang emphasized that China would continue to support the work of the ASEAN Secretariat, strengthen the China-ASEAN cooperation fund, adhere to the ASEAN centrality and stand firmly with ASEAN.

On his part, the ASEAN Secretary-General said the ASEAN-China relations are of great significance to ASEAN and thanked China for its strong support to ASEAN’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lim also expressed his hope that both sides would seize the opportunity of the 30th anniversary of the dialogue relations to further elevate their ties.

The ASEAN scribe said that this year ASEAN would focus on poverty reduction, disaster prevention, and mitigation, as well as sustainable development.

He added that ASEAN was willing to strengthen cooperation and capacity building with China in relevant areas to help achieve the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

ASEAN, he also said, was committed to maintaining a free, open, and rules-based free trade system and support its member nations in deepening cooperation with China to accelerate regional economic recovery.