Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting here on Thursday, during which the Chinese and ASEAN sides spoke highly of the achievements in their cooperation and pledged to build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.
The meeting, co-chaired by Wang and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, was attended by the foreign ministers of 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi.
Wang said that since Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders of the ASEAN countries jointly announced the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership in November last year, the development of the partnership has got off to a good start with promising results yielded in various fields.
The two sides have worked together to meet the challenges from various spillovers, and jointly maintained the hard-won peace and stability in the region, safeguarding "an oasis of peace," he said.
Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, both sides showed solidarity in fighting the disease and strengthened cooperation in emergency management so as to build "a shield of safety," said Wang.
Both sides also jointly implemented the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and accelerated connectivity, creating "a highland for development," he said.
In addition, the two sides have strengthened cooperation to boost green development, address climate change, enhance ecological environmental protection, and promote energy transformation, while cementing the public support by increasing direct flights, helping students from ASEAN countries to return to study in China in an orderly manner, and strengthening exchanges and cooperation in culture, tourism, think tanks and sports, he said.
Wang said that China is willing to work with ASEAN to continue advancing the building of a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home together, to implement the important consensuses reached by the leaders of the two sides, to continue deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership, and to build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, so as to make greater contributions to regional peace and development.
Wang put forward a four-point proposal in this regard.
First, the two sides should build a model of common development. Both sides should strengthen the synergy between their development strategies to achieve a higher level of mutual benefit.
China is stepping up efforts to honor its commitment to providing assistance to ASEAN countries for their development, and facilitate the implementation of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in ASEAN countries, Wang said.
He noted that both sides should jointly address pressing challenges such as public health, food and energy.
Second, the two sides should set an example of connectivity. Wang said both sides should join hands to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, welcome more countries to participate in the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and ensure the safety and smooth flow of industrial and supply chains.
He said the two sides should work together to push for high-quality RCEP implementation, accelerate the follow-up negotiations on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, and expand cooperation in digital and green economy.
Third, the two sides should strengthen coordination on global governance. Wang said the two sides should uphold open regionalism, promote true multilateralism, expand and strengthen the ASEAN-led regional structure, and jointly safeguard the interests of developing countries, so as to make "Asian contributions" to global governance.
China appreciates that the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) adheres to independence, openness and inclusiveness, and focuses on development and cooperation, Wang said, adding China is willing to work with ASEAN countries to jointly enhance the synergy between the outlook and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as between that and the GDI.
Fourth, the two sides should jointly maintain regional peace and stability. Noting that the Global Security Initiative (GSI) shares the security philosophy advocated by ASEAN, Wang said China is ready to work with ASEAN to explore the implementation of the initiative in ASEAN countries.
He said both sides should speed up their consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), and hold the key to the issue in the hands of regional countries, so as to turn the South China Sea into a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.
Wang proposed the establishment of a China-ASEAN year of cooperation on agricultural development and food security, as well as the issuance of a joint statement on food security cooperation at the China-ASEAN leaders' meeting.
The Chinese side also circulated a document on China's support for ASEAN's central position, a list on supporting cooperation in the four priority areas of the AOIP, a progress report on building a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home together, and a fact list on building a China-ASEAN blue economy partnership, among others.
The foreign ministers attending the meeting spoke highly of the dynamic ASEAN-China cooperation with rich substance and remarkable achievements since the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides, appreciated China's consistent support for ASEAN's central position, and thanked China for providing vaccines to ASEAN countries in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Viewing China as a partner with mutual benefit and a shared vision, ASEAN countries said they fully endorse President Xi's proposal to build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home together, and look forward to the synergy of the BRI and the AOIP, and to further exploring the implementation of the GDI and the GSI in ASEAN.
The foreign ministers expressed satisfaction with the progress made in RCEP implementation, and appreciated China for taking the lead in reaching a free trade agreement with ASEAN.
They said they look forward to accelerating follow-up negotiations on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, and pushing for substantive progress in the consultation of the COC to jointly safeguard regional peace, stability and prosperity.
During the meeting, Wang further expounded on China's solemn stance on the provocation by the U.S. side to infringe on China's sovereignty.
All parties at the meeting said they adhere to the one-China policy, and support China in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The ASEAN foreign ministers also issued a statement on the cross-Strait situation, reiterating their countries' firm adherence to the one-China principle.
The meeting also approved an action plan of the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, which will be submitted to the China-ASEAN leaders' meeting for endorsement. -