Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday agreed to elevate their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, as Chinese President Xi Jinping attended and chaired a special summit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations via video link.

“This is a new milestone in the history of our relations and will inject new impetus into the peace, stability, prosperity and development of our region and the world,” Xi said, commenting on the partnership with ASEAN.

The summit was co-chaired by Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, who is also the ASEAN chairman for 2021.

Noting that China-ASEAN dialogue relations have gone through an extraordinary journey over the past three decades, Xi summarized the four-pronged experiences gained over the past 30 years, including mutual respect, win-win cooperation, mutual assistance and inclusiveness.

The two sides have accommodated each other’s major concerns, properly handled disagreements and problems by seeking common ground while shelving differences, taken the lead in establishing free-trade areas, promoted high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and jointly concluded and signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

China and ASEAN have stood with each other through the Asian financial crisis, the international financial crisis, Covid-19 and other challenges, and forged friendships that are open, not exclusionary, with an inclusive attitude.

“China was, is, and will always be ASEAN’s good neighbor, good friend and good partner,” Xi said.

He reaffirmed that China will unswervingly treat ASEAN as a high priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, unswervingly support ASEAN unity and ASEAN Community building, unswervingly support ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, and unswervingly support ASEAN in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs.

JOINTLY TACKLING CHALLENGES

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging across the world, Xi announced that China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to jointly build a “health shield” for the region.

Under this initiative, China is ready to donate an additional 150 million doses of Covid vaccines to ASEAN countries to support higher vaccination rates in countries in the region.

China will also contribute an additional P5 million to the Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund, step up joint vaccine production and technology transfer, and collaborate on the research and development of essential medicines, so as to help ASEAN increase self-reliance.

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