On December 21, 2021, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Liu Jinsong attended and addressed the reception celebrating the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC). Diplomatic envoys to China from 10 ASEAN countries, representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, China International Publishing Group and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, as well as some former Chinese ambassadors to ASEAN countries, attended the event.
Liu Jinsong said that I have participated in the research on the ACC's establishment, and I have spent much time working with diplomats from ASEAN countries. That is why I have a deep affection for the ACC. During the past ten years since the ACC's establishment, China has closely worked with the ASEAN brothers to promote the development of the ACC and democracy in international relations with practical actions by adhering to the principle of extensive cooperation, joint contribution and shared benefits and insisting on equality, democracy and consultation. Under the strong support of all sectors of society and with the constant efforts by successive Secretaries-General and staff members, the ACC has started from scratch and gone from strength to strength. It has served as a "one-stop information and activity center" to promote the cooperation between China and ASEAN, and created a series of influential signature projects in the fields of economy, trade, investment, education, culture, tourism and media. All these efforts have enhanced our mutual understanding and trust, promoted practical cooperation between the two sides and thus received wide acclaim.
Liu Jinsong said that at the ASEAN-China (Henan) Trade and Investment Promotion Seminar co-hosted by the ACC and relevant departments of Henan Province in July this year, ambassadors to China from various countries personally promoted the fruits of their countries in their own ways, thus catching much attention. Later, you may also try live commerce to bring premium specialty goods from ASEAN countries to more Chinese households. When looking around the ACC, I saw an online training in Chinese for ASEAN tour guides in the video conference room. During the vivid introduction to the tea culture, the Chinese teacher stressed that the Chinese people appreciate the lingering sweet aftertaste of tea. The trainees from ASEAN countries were fascinated by the lecture. As far as I know, the ACC has held seven similar training sessions for over 1,000 people from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Malaysia, effectively increasing the abilities of tourism service providers from different countries and improving their livelihood. Just now, we all watched the photo exhibition on China-ASEAN agricultural cooperation. As a new highlight of such cooperation, Juncao has greatly helped increase farming households' production and income. Some farmers from ASEAN countries even name their children after "Juncao". All these vivid examples fully illustrate that the cooperation between China and ASEAN has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples and is well-received.
Liu Jinsong said that the past ten years witnessed the growth of the ACC and the dynamic development of China-ASEAN relations. In the past ten years, President Xi Jinping and leaders of ten ASEAN countries maintained close exchanges and in-depth communication and guided the ongoing progress of our political relations. The two sides enjoy closer economic integration. The bilateral trade volume increased from 362.85 billion U.S. dollars to 684.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. It more than doubled to 789.53 billion U.S. dollars in the first 11 months of this year. The accumulated mutual investment increased by 2.6 times to more than 310 billion U.S. dollars from 85.1 billion U.S. dollars. As the bond of affinity grew stronger, mutual personnel exchanges rose by 3.8 times from 13.63 million to 65.419 million visits before the pandemic.
Liu Jinsong pointed out that this year is of extraordinary importance to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the development course of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We held grand celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, achieved the first centenary goal on schedule, and embarked on a new journey towards the second centenary goal. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. One month ago, President Xi Jinping and leaders of ASEAN countries attended the commemorative summit together and announced the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, establishing a new milestone in the relationship of both sides.
At last, Liu Jinsong said that China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to jointly overcome risks and challenges on our way ahead, implement the important consensus reached by our leaders, and closely align China's development opportunities with those of ASEAN to build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home together. As the ACC's host country, China will, as always, care about its development and actively provide all support. He hopes that the ACC will continue exerting its unique advantages, building a bridge between the two sides, and serving as a "booster" and "incubator" of China-ASEAN cooperation.