China, ASEAN to deepen cooperation after 25 years of partnership
The commitment was made at the 18th China-ASEAN Joint Cooperation Committee (ACJCC) meeting held in ASEAN Secretariat here on Monday, attended by officials from the two sides.
The meeting was co-chaired by Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Xu Bu and Chen Han-cheng, Permanent Representative of Singapore to ASEAN, China-ASEAN Coordinators, Permanent representatives of the ten ASEAN countries, senior officials of the ASEAN Secretariat and representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Tourism Administration.
Addressing the meeting, Xu Bu said that two-way trade has soared to 452.2 billion U.S. dollars last year. China has become ASEAN's largest trading partner, while ASEAN is China's third largest trading partner, the fourth largest export market and the second largest source of imports.
In the meantime, people-to-people exchanges have been greatly enhanced thanks to rapid expansion of direct flights serving China and ASEAN countries, with around 2,700 flights per week, he said.
Xu said that ASEAN remains a priority in China's neighborhood diplomacy, adding that China has been a staunch, steady and sincere friend and partner for ASEAN as they move towards more competitive, inclusive and integrating region.
"Therefore we will continue this firm support to ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation and support ASEAN's greater role in international and regional affairs," he added.
China is willing to work with ASEAN to actively promote the implementation of the 2+7 Cooperation Framework and China-ASEAN strategic partnership third "action plan" to deepen strategic mutual trust, strengthen cooperation in key areas to promote China-ASEAN relations into higher quality, as well as create a community of common destiny for China and ASEAN, he said. ■