Wang Yi, Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, met Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 12, 2023. (Photo by Li Shiguan/Xinhua)
JAKARTA, July 12 (Xinhua) — China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should speed up negotiations on version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), Wang Yi, Director of Affairs of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, said Wednesday.
Wang, who is in the Indonesian capital for a series of ASEAN foreign ministers’ meetings on Thursday and Friday, made the comments during a meeting with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
Noting that this year marks the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Wang said the two sides should take it as an opportunity to create a new vision for cooperation and further develop China-ASEAN relations.
China and ASEAN should jointly safeguard the global free trade system, uphold ASEAN’s core, and jointly maintain regional peace and development, a senior Chinese diplomat said.
Wang noted that China and Singapore have developed their relations to a high-quality and forward-looking partnership in all respects, giving strong impetus to the development of bilateral relations.
He added that China looks forward to working with Singapore to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and facilitate people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
For his part, Balakrishnan said Singapore and China have maintained close high-level exchanges, bilateral cooperation mechanism meetings have been fruitful, and major cooperation projects have come to fruition.
Singapore is ready to work with China to expand cooperation in various fields, guided by the new stance of their relationship, Singapore’s foreign minister said.
He said his country is looking forward to direct flights between China and Singapore to further facilitate people-to-people exchanges.
China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner, Balakrishnan said, adding that the joint construction of the Belt and Road has yielded tangible benefits for both sides.
Singapore advocates mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation among countries, said China and ASEAN hope to enhance mutual trust, promote stability and prosperity. ■
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