Xi calls for cultivating closer China-ASEAN community with shared future

Updated: 2020-11-27Xinhua

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Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit via video on Nov 27, 2020. [Xinhua/Li Xueren]

BEIJING -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called for cultivating a closer community with a shared future for China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

Xi made the remarks via video when addressing the opening ceremony of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit held in Nanning, capital city of South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. 

Xi said seven years after he announced an initiative for China to work with ASEAN countries for a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and for a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, "the China-ASEAN relationship has grown into the most successful and vibrant model for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and an exemplary effort in building a community with a shared future for mankind." 

When confronted by the sudden onslaught of COVID-19 this year, China and ASEAN have helped each other and took on the challenge in solidarity. 

"Never before have the destinies of people in different countries been so closely connected," as the world is undergoing momentous changes unseen in a century, Xi said. 

China continues to regard ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy and a key region in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, he said, adding that China will work with ASEAN to advance all-round cooperation and maintain the good momentum for development and prosperity in the region. 

Greater cooperation for economic recovery 

Xi suggested that the two sides need to enhance strategic mutual trust and further synergize their development plans. 

More efforts will be made to build the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, strengthen cooperation on infrastructure connectivity, speed up the development of existing economic corridors and key projects, and continue to develop the China-ASEAN Multimodal Transport Alliance. 

Xi said as next year will mark the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations, China will work with ASEAN to take their strategic partnership to a higher level. 

He said the two sides also need to elevate economic and trade cooperation and facilitate an early and full recovery of the regional economy. 

China welcomes the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and looks forward to its early entry into force, he said.

China will work with ASEAN countries to sustain the smooth flow of trade, promote mutual investment, open up markets wider to each other, and foster deeply integrated industrial, supply and value chains, Xi said. 

Provided that all necessary COVID-19 containment protocols are duly observed, steps should be taken to facilitate the movement of people and goods, he added. 

Promoting digital economy, COVID fight 

Stressing the need to deepen cooperation on the digital economy, Xi said China and ASEAN could create more highlights of cooperation in such areas as smart city, 5G, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, big data, blockchain and telemedicine, and strengthen the protection of data security and policy communication and coordination. 

China will work with ASEAN on the China-ASEAN Information Harbor to advance digital connectivity and build a digital Silk Road, he added.

The two sides also need to strengthen cooperation against COVID-19 and enhance capacity building in public health, according to the president. 

Xi said China stands ready to work with ASEAN to enhance policy dialogue on public health, information sharing and cooperation on the production, development, and deployment of vaccines. 

When its COVID-19 vaccines are available for use, China will actively consider the needs of ASEAN countries, he said. 

China will provide financial support to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, train 1,000 administrative and specialized personnel in the health sector for ASEAN countries, and work with ASEAN countries to develop the regional reserve of medical supplies for public health emergencies and launch a liaison mechanism for public health emergencies. 

Xi said China will embark on a new journey next year toward fully building a modern socialist country and the country will stay as committed as ever to further opening-up. 

Countries around the world, ASEAN members included, will all benefit from it, he said.

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