On 13th January 2023, the ACC Roundtable Series: Seminar of ASEAN-China Cooperation on Agriculture, co-hosted by the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, was successfully held in Beijing. H.E. Mr. Li Jinxiang, Chief Veterinary Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, H.E. Mr. Shi Zhongjun, Secretary-General of ACC, H.E. Mr. U Tin Maung Swe, Ambassador of Myanmar to China and Mr. Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN, addressed the opening ceremony. More than 70 people attended the seminar, including H.E. Mrs. Khamphao Ernthavanh, Ambassador of Lao PDR to China, Mr. Dinno Oblena, Charge d’ Affaires, a. i. of the Philippine Embassy in China, Mr. Sreng Sataro, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Cambodia in China and other diplomatic envoys from ASEAN Member States (AMS), officials from China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, experts from higher institutions and think tanks, and media representatives. Dr. Thatsaka Saphangthong, Director General of the Department of Planning and Cooperation at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR specially came to China to attend the seminar. Mr. Mercedita Sombilla, Undersecretary for Policy Planning & Regulations of Department of Agriculture of the Philippines, officials and experts from Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and other countries attended the seminar and delivered statements online.
Mr. Li Jinxiang said in his speech that two months ago, the leaders of China and AMS jointly designated 2023 as the China-ASEAN Year of Agricultural Development and Food Security Cooperation, and issued the China-ASEAN Joint Statement on Food Security Cooperation, demonstrating the two sides’ commitment to agricultural development, showing determination and confidence to safeguard food security within the region. To implement the consensus of the leaders of the two sides and continue to deepen China-ASEAN agricultural cooperation, firstly, agricultural strategic dialogue and policy exchanges should be intensified and agricultural economic and trade investment exchanges should be enhanced for the Year of Agricultural Development and Food Security Cooperation. Secondly, regional food security capabilities should be improved, supporting the role of ASEAN, China, Japan and Republic of Korea’s rice emergency reserve mechanism, jointly building a resilient and sustainable food and agricultural system in the region. Thirdly, green development of agriculture should be promoted in order to effectively respond to challenges such as climate change and resource constraints.
Secretary-General Shi Zhongjun said that food production is vital to national prosperity and people’s livelihood. With a combined population of more than 2 billion, agricultural development and food security are of great importance to ASEAN and China. It is of great significance that the ASEAN-China Summit last year designated 2023 as the Year of Agricultural Development and Food Security Cooperation. He pointed out that ASEAN and China have a long history of agricultural development, strong complementarity and broad prospects for cooperation. Under the current circumstances, the two sides should strengthen cooperation in stabilizing grain production and supply, ensuring safety of circulation and promoting rural development. ACC stands ready to constantly play the role of a bridge and make good use of the ASEAN-China round table series in order to promote more exchanges and practical cooperation between the two sides in the field of agriculture, and make positive contributions to the development of the ASEAN-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
Mr. U Tin Maung Swe said that ASEAN and China have a long history of cooperation in the field of agriculture. The leaders of AMS and China have jointly designated 2023 as the ASEAN-China Year of Agricultural Development and Food Security Cooperation, which will certainly open a new stage of cooperation between the two sides. AMS including Myanmar are willing to further strengthen cooperation and dialogue with China and carry out more practical cooperation in agricultural technology exchange, agricultural experiments and agricultural applications. Myanmar will also actively contribute to promoting agricultural cooperation between ASEAN and China and maintaining regional food security.
Mr. Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN shared the latest progress of AMS in the field of agricultural sustainable development since the outbreak of the pandemic, and put forward eight constructive strategic measures on the future cooperation between ASEAN and China in agriculture, including signing agreements, establishing mechanisms, carbon sink exchange, fertilizer application, environmental treatment, agricultural investment, digital technology, and capacity building. Singh noted that in the past decade, ASEAN and China have made great achievements in the development of agriculture and forestry, but also faced many challenges such as pandemic, climate change, water security and geopolitics. The two sides are supposed to take the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations as an opportunity to further work together, enhance capacity-building, promote the wide application of digital technology in agriculture, achieve green and sustainable development of agriculture, and jointly safeguard regional prosperity and stability.
Officials and experts from the Philippines, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as agricultural authorities from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and China Agricultural University, discussed in depth on the topics of ASEAN-China agricultural development and food security, and provided input on future agricultural cooperation between ASEAN and China.
Before the seminar, guests visited the “Achievements of Agricultural Development Over Past Decade in China” at the National Agriculture Exhibition Centre.