Remarks by Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong at the Reception Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership and the Inauguration of the New ACC Secretary-General
Source: ASEAN-China Centre
Time: 2018-Aug-14 11:14

6 August 2018

Secretary-General Chen Dehai,


Distinguished guests,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening! We gather today to celebrate 15 years of China-ASEAN strategic partnership and congratulate Mr. Chen Dehai on assuming the position of the third Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Center. Good things come in pairs indeed! It is my great pleasure to join friends who have cared and supported China-ASEAN relations at this moment of celebration.

The ASEAN-plus Foreign Ministers’ Meetings concluded in Singapore just two days ago. The ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was very successful. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his ASEAN counterparts had an in-depth discussion and reached broad consensus. The two sides agreed to take relations to a new level in terms of cooperation planning, security cooperation, innovation cooperation, people-to-people exchange and funding guarantee, formulate Vision 2030 for China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership, and expand mil-to-mil exchange and cooperation. We agreed to designate 2019 as the Year of Media Exchange, set up the management team of the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund and build an even closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. The meeting also announced the agreement between China and the ASEAN members on the single draft negotiating text for a “COC”, which fully demonstrates our ability and commitment to overcome disturbances, properly manage differences and build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Fifteen years ago, leaders of China and ASEAN countries started the process of building strategic partnership. Fifteen years on, despite changes in the international and regional landscapes, China-ASEAN friendship has grown from strength to strength and stood as firm as ever. We have continuously deepened mutual political trust, intensified high-level interactions and policy communication, and carried out practical cooperation with fruitful results. Trade between China and ASEAN, which was only US$55.2 billion 15 years ago, expanded nearly 10 times to US$514.8 billion in 2017. Our people-to-people ties have grown closer, and annual personnel interflow will soon reach 50 million.

The great journey of the past 15 years has put us on a new starting point. Looking into the next 15 years, we need to break new grounds in cooperation, make plans for an even brighter future, and work to further upgrade our relationship so that it will bring more benefits to our peoples and to the whole region.

Distinguished guests,

Since its inception 7 years ago, the ASEAN-China Center, being the only intergovernmental organization between China and ASEAN countries, has carried out many successful programs in trade, investment, tourism, education, culture, media and other fields, serving as a unique bond and an important platform in facilitating exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. With the ever-growing relationship and expanding areas of cooperation, we expect and trust that the Center will play an even more important role going forward.

First, it may advance our practical cooperation in line with the strategic planning agreed between the two sides. China and ASEAN have common understanding on the Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. As a guideline document setting the direction for China-ASEAN relations in the long run, it has outlined plans for political, security, economic, trade, social, cultural and other areas of cooperation. The Center may facilitate practical cooperation in areas identified in the document and help realize the Vision at an early date.

Second, it may harness its unique strength to promote people-to-people exchanges. People-to-people ties have grown to be the third pillar of China-ASEAN relations. Our foreign ministers proposed to designate 2019 the Media Exchange Year. The Center has unique strength in promoting greater mutual understanding and connections between our peoples. It may increase input in education, culture, tourism, media and other relevant fields and hold more popular events to raise public awareness of China-ASEAN cooperation and increase understanding among the people of the 11 countries.

Third, it may further build capacity to increase its own regional profile. There are quite a number of regional cooperation organizations in our region, each with its own features and strengths. The Center may enhance exchanges and engagement with international or regional organizations such as the Japan-ASEAN Center, ROK-ASEAN Center, SCO, ACD Secretariat and Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat to expand its “Friends Circle” and jointly advance regional cooperation in Asia.

Distinguished guests,

As a capable and experienced diplomat, Mr Chen Dehai knows ASEAN affairs very well. I congratulate him on becoming the Secretary-General of the Center. As the host country, the Chinese government will continue to provide support and facilitation to the operation of the Center and the work of the Secretary-General. We are confident that under the stewardship of Secretary-General Chen Dehai, the Center will make even greater contribution to the growth of China-ASEAN relations and help bring about an even more successful 15 years of our cooperation!

Thank you!

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