ASEAN countries speak positively of China relations

Updated: 2014-04-27 09:16

(China Daily)

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Senior officials of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations spoke positively of ASEAN-China relations after the 20th ASEAN-China Senior Officials' Consultation, which concluded on Tuesday in Pattaya, Thailand.

ASEAN-China relations have a solid foundation, cover a wide range of areas and are full of vigor, the officials of member countries such as Thailand said, adding that the strategic partnership between the two sides has become a pillar for regional peace and stability, and will be even more important in the future.

China is a natural and important partner for the ASEAN countries on the bilateral, regional and international levels, they said, calling on both sides to strengthen high-level communication and build consensus, in order to push for greater progress in their ties, as the strategic partnership enters its second decade.

They also spoke positively of the 2+7 (two political consensuses and seven areas of cooperation) framework proposed by China last year.

They welcomed the results achieved at the 10th joint working group meeting between the ASEAN and China on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, held last month in Singapore.

In the eyes of countries such as Malaysia, China is the most active ASEAN dialogue partner, as it has put forward many constructive cooperation proposals.

The officials said the sound development of China-ASEAN relations is conducive to regional peace and stability, as well as the ASEAN's own development.

Malaysia said it will work closely with China to ensure the success of the ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise, expressing hopes that the exercise will contribute to the building of a regional disaster relief cooperation mechanism.

Countries, including Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, said China's proposal to conclude a China-ASEAN treaty on good-neighborliness and cooperation is conducive to safeguarding regional peace, stability and prosperity as it is in line with the ASEAN's goal of realizing the ASEAN Community.

The community comprises three pillars - namely, the ASEAN Political Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei said the China-ASEAN free trade agreement is significant as it is the first free trade agreement the ASEAN has signed with one of its dialogue partners.

The upgraded version of the FTA will not only promote investment between China and the ASEAN countries but also offer fresh impetus to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations, they said.

Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia expressed gratitude to China for its support of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, saying they believed that the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will facilitate the connectivity of regional infrastructure.

Singapore suggested that the investment bank focus more on commercial banks and the areas that have not been covered by the existing multilateral development institutions.

ASEAN countries welcomed China's proposal to construct a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, saying it will further consolidate regional peace and stability as it can help countries in the region to achieve common development and shared prosperity.

They also spoke highly of the 2014 China-ASEAN Cultural Exchange Year, the opening ceremony of which was held in early April in Beijing.