ASEAN, China celebrate decade of ties, plan future development
|The heads of the delegations at the ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers' Meeting join together during the opening ceremony organised yesterday in Beijing. — VNA/VNS Photo
BEIJING (VNS)— The robust and comprehensive development between ASEAN and China over many years has become one of the key pillars in regional co-operation, positively contributing to common peace, stability, development and prosperity, the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have declared.
The ministers made the statement during a Special Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Beijing yesterday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership between China and the bloc.
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh led a delegation to the event.
The ministers agreed that in the future ASEAN and China need to make use of the existing development impetus and recorded achievements to lift their strategic partnership to a new height, allowing greater contributions to regional peace, stability and development.
On this basis, the two sides will continue strengthening dialogue, consultations and co-operation in politics and security to reinforce mutual trust. They will also step up economic, trade and investment co-operation and effectively implement the ASEAN-China free trade agreement (FTA), and work closely to finalise a regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) in East Asia, they said.
They will consider a proposal on upgrading their FTA, aiming for US$500 billion in two-way trade by 2015.
The ministers underscored the need to further connectivity, especially in infrastructure, and boost cultural and people-to-people exchanges, while fostering links among enterprises, strengthening maritime co-operation and enhancing co-ordination in the response to non-traditional security issues such as climate change, natural disasters, pandemics, transnational crimes, energy and food security.
They highlighted the necessity to work more closely and be well-prepared for the 16th ASEAN-China Summit in October by drafting a joint statement to fuel and guide the development of their strategic partnership in the future.
|Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 28, 2013.—XINHUA/VNA/VNS Photo
The meeting also devoted much time to underlining the significance of maintaining peace, stability and maritime security, safety and freedom. It was agreed that the peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea should be based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (COC) and the pending formation of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.
The ministers applauded the decision to conduct the first official consultations at the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) between ASEAN and China on COC scheduled for next month in Suzhou, China.
During the conference and meetings between ASEAN foreign ministers and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and State Councillor Yang Jiechi, the Chinese side affirmed its consistent policy of attaching importance to building friendly neighbourliness and mutual beneficial co-operation with ASEAN.
It gives high priority to ASEAN in its foreign policy and supports the group's central role in the regional architecture. It also pledges to continue backing ASEAN in its efforts to build community, implement regional connectivity and narrow development gap.
China reiterates its policy of peaceful and friendly development, creating a momentum for the development of the region as a whole and ASEAN in particular.
Referring to exchanges, China proposes the joint research of upgrading the ASEAN-China FTA, setting up the Asian Credit Transfer System, Monetary Fund, and Financial and Investment Fund in hope to fund infrastructure projects.
China affirms to continue co-operating with ASEAN in ensuring peace in the East Sea and fully implementing the DOC towards the COC, thus turning the East Sea into a sea of reliance, co-operation and development.
Attending the meeting, Foreign Minister Minh made positive assessments on the intensive and extensive development of ASEAN-China co-operation.
That China has become ASEAN's first strategic partner, the first one to join the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and the negotiations to establish the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area symbolises the special relations between the two sides, laying an important foundation for ceaseless development and great achievements in bilateral co-operation.
China and ASEAN also need to co-operate in building an ASEAN-centred regional architecture suitable for peace, stability and development by promoting the East Asia connectivity process, co-ordination in dealing with non-traditional security challenges and enhancing maritime security co-operation, he added.
Minh stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability and maritime security, safety and freedom in the East Sea, welcoming the past progress between China and ASEAN.
On this occasion, Minh also held a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
They affirmed that the two sides will continue working together to effectively realise their leaders' common perceptions, and an action programme on implementing the Viet Nam-China comprehensive strategic co-operative partnership in all fields.
At present, ASEAN-China co-operation has been implemented deeply and widely through more than 40 mechanisms, with two-way trade surpassing $400 billion last year, eight times higher than that of 2003. China is now the largest trade partner of ASEAN, while the latter the third largest of the former.
Total two-way investment also rose four times to $100 billion in 2012. The number of tourists travelling between the bloc and China reached 15 million, a fivefold increase compared to that of 10 years ago. — VNA