Ambassadors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries have called for the promotion of China-ASEAN cooperation amid complex changes in the global political and economic landscape, and stressed the need to resolve conflicts through dialogue and consultation.
Commemorating the 56th anniversary of ASEAN’s founding on Tuesday, Southeast Asian diplomats in China gathered at the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing for celebrations and pledged to strengthen unity and solidarity to maintain regional stability and prosperity. China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong attended the event.
Shanmugan Subramaniam, Chargé d’Affaires of the Malaysian Embassy in China, spoke about the challenges facing the world such as climate change, economic inequality and security. „At times like these, it is critical to work closely with our dialogue partners, especially China, to strengthen our foundations in ASEAN and meet the demands and expectations of our people.”
Subramaniam praised the achievements of economic cooperation between ASEAN and China, saying the two sides could explore cooperation in emerging sectors, especially the digital economy. „As a country, we can learn a lot from China in terms of digital economy because China has made significant progress in this field,” he said.
In October 2021, China and ASEAN upgraded their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership. China has been ASEAN’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years. ASEAN became China’s largest trading partner in 2020. Trade between China and ASEAN will reach 6.52 trillion yuan ($905 billion) in 2022, up 15 percent year-on-year.
The two sides have joined hands to safeguard regional peace and stability, promote regional economic integration, and promote people-to-people exchanges.
Thailand’s Ambassador to China Arthayuth Srisamud said there are many areas to expand cooperation between ASEAN and China under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
RCEP, initiated by ASEAN, is the world’s largest free trade agreement. It came into effect from January 1, 2022. „China, being the largest economy among the RCEP members, is a powerful engine driving this RCEP cooperation,” Srisamud said.
Speaking about the conflicts between regional countries, especially the South China Sea issue, the ambassador called for dialogue and consultation to resolve them.
„I think the role of ASEAN, including Thailand, is to foster greater cooperation and consultation among major powers, even though each major power has a different position and a different perspective on the international environment,” he said, adding that the world’s nations should foster. and an environment for regional cooperation.
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