On 22 February 2017, H.E. Mme.Yang Xiuping, Secretary-General of ASEAN-China Centre(ACC) had a group discussion with representatives of relevant government agencies of Hainan Province to exchange views on ways and means to strengthen Hainan-ASEAN cooperation and solicit their suggestions on ACC’s work. The meeting was chaired by Ms. Kang Baiying, Deputy Director-General of the Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (FAO) of Hainan Province, and attended by representatives from Hainan Development and Reform Commission, Hainan Tourism Development Commission, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, and Mr. Zhang Xuehai, Deputy Director of the Information and Public Relations Division of ACC. They had fruitful interactions and discussions.
Deputy Director-General gave a general introduction on the relations between Hainan and ASEAN. She said that Hainan is situated at the southernmost part of China and enjoys geographic and cultural advantages in developing exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN. In recent years, Hainan has been actively promoting its links with ASEAN countries through various platforms including Boao Forum for Asia and Inter-Islands Tourism Policy Forum. It has established sister-city relationship with 7 provinces/states of 7 ASEAN countries and achieved steady progress in tourism, education, agriculture, culture and other areas. Hainan has sent cataract doctors to Cambodia and held training programme on rural microfinance in Lao PDR, which were well received by the public. The FAO looks forward to the continued support from ACC to strengthen Hainan-ASEAN practical cooperation with a view to better serving the social and economic development of Hainan Province and the welfare of its people.
Secretary-General Yang Xiuping reviewed the development of ASEAN and the fruitful achievements of ASEAN-China practical cooperation, and mentioned ACC’s mandate and work. She said that with the steady progress made in the Belt and Road Initiative, ASEAN Community, Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and the upgraded ASEAN-China FTA, ASEAN-China relations have embraced new opportunities and broad prospects. The year of 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation. It is expected that Hainan Province could give full play to its unique advantages in tourism, culture, agriculture and other fields with a view to further expanding the convergence of interests and promoting common development.
Representatives from Hainan government agencies briefed on the cooperation with ASEAN countries in different areas, and spoke highly of ACC’s role and work in strengthening ASEAN-China and Hainan-ASEAN relations. They expressed willingness to work with ACC to tighten their ties with ASEAN countries and lay a solid foundation for win-win cooperation. The Department of Education aims at internationalization and modernization in education and expects ACC could build more platforms for education institutes of Hainan Province to cooperate with ASEAN, thus to produce more professionals who will help strengthen practical cooperation between Hainan and ASEAN. The Department of Commerce said that ASEAN is one of the major trading partners of Hainan Province. It is hoped that a more conducive business environment could be created by fully utilizing the favorable terms provided by the upgraded ASEAN-China FTA. The Department of Agriculture said that Hainan is strong in tropical agriculture and will push forward ecological agriculture cooperation with ASEAN, with a focus on the construction of Cambodia-China Tropical Agriculture Park. The Tourism Development Commission hopes to seize the opportunities provided by ASEAN-China Tourism Cooperation Year to further expand tourism markets in ASEAN. With more direct flights opened and greater efforts on tourism resources promotion, Hainan hopes to attract more ASEAN tourists and raise its profile in ASEAN countries.