|Five Important Aspects of Consensus Reached at the China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting|
On July 31, 2019 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the Chinese and foreign journalists after attending the China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.
Wang Yi said, the just-concluded China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting was fruitful and successful. To sum up, there are five important aspects of consensus reached at the meeting:
First, to join the efforts to promote the Belt and Road Initiative. Both sides have reached an agreement on aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, and the related consultations will be started and then completed as soon as possible, so that it would be able to release at the leaders' meeting in November this year. Following the signing of the cooperation documents under the Belt and Road Initiative between the 10 ASEAN countries and China respectively, this is another important step taken by China and the ASEAN as a whole to jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative with high quality. It will add new impetus to the realization of comprehensive connectivity in the region.
Second, to join the efforts to forge new highlights of cooperation. Both sides agreed to designate 2020 as the year for China-ASEAN digital economy cooperation to expand cooperation in e-commerce, scientific and technological innovation, 5G network, smart city and other fields. We also launched the China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship and will build it into a flagship project of China-ASEAN people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We agreed to work together to advance the China-ASEAN blue economic partnership, and expand new cooperation in such areas as strengthening the sustainable use of marine resources to add new connotations to the China-ASEAN strategic partnership.
Third, to join the efforts to safeguard multilateralism. Both sides believed, adhering to multilateralism is in the common interest of both China and the ASEAN countries. We will continue to advocate an open, inclusive and mutually beneficial and win-win approach in regional cooperation and jointly oppose all kinds of acts of unilateralism and protectionism. The two sides will fully implement the protocol on the upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA) and work together to facilitate the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations within this year to accelerate regional trade liberalization process.
Fourth, to join the efforts to set up regional rules. Just now, Foreign Ministers of the ASEAN countries and I jointly announced that the first reading of the single draft negotiating text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea has been completed ahead of the schedule. This is another important progress made in the COC consultations and shows that the framework of the COC has taken shape. It also fully demonstrates that as long as the two sides have the sincerity and meet each other half way, they will be able to finally reach a high-quality COC that conforms to international law and meets the actual needs of the region and has substantive connotation and effectiveness.
Fifth, to join the efforts to maintain peace and stability. To maintain regional peace and stability is the common aspiration of all countries in the region, including China and the ASEAN. It is also the due and shared responsibility of China and the ASEAN. China and the ASEAN have successfully held two joint maritime exercises and are actively exploring the institutionalization of joint maritime exercises and defense ministers' meeting. We also agreed to further expand exchanges and cooperation in the field of military security and law enforcement to jointly address various security challenges facing the region.
Wang Yi noted, China will continue to give the ASEAN top priority in its neighborhood diplomacy. Building on the achievements of the current cooperation, China and the ASEAN will enhance political mutual trust, tap into cooperation potential, forge a higher level of strategic partnership and build a closer community with a shard future.