Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi
State Councilor and Foreign Minister of
The People's Republic of China
At Reception Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of
ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations
Beijing, 8 October 2021
It gives me great pleasure to join you in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. I wish to begin by extending our warm welcome and heartfelt appreciation to all the distinguished guests and friends from various sectors who have long been committed to growing China-ASEAN relations.
Since the dialogue relationship was established in 1991, China and ASEAN have embraced the opportunities of the times and focused on common development. Together we have found a path of progress in solidarity and cooperation for win-win. Today, our two sides have become each other's largest trading partner, most vibrant cooperation partner, and most substantive strategic partner. We have delivered significant benefits to the two billion people of the 11 countries, and made important contributions to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and beyond.
We have followed the Asian way of engaging with each other, and jointly strengthened good-neighborliness and friendship. Building on our traditional friendship, the two sides have always treated each other with equality, continued to deepen mutual trust, and taken the lead in establishing the strategic partnership. In the spirit of seeking common ground while shelving differences, we have been properly addressing our differences through friendly consultations, and we have maintained overall peace and stability in the region.
We have stayed committed to the vision of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, and jointly promoted development and prosperity. By synergizing the Belt and Road Initiative with ASEAN's development plans, China and ASEAN have fostered integrated and interconnected development. Over the past 30 years, our trade volume has grown by 85 times and two-way investment has exceeded US$310 billion in cumulative terms. We have worked together to promote the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), thus injecting a strong impetus to economic recovery in the region.
We have upheld the spirit of solidarity and partnership, and jointly tackled difficulties and challenges. In the face of financial crises, natural disasters and cross-border infectious diseases, China and ASEAN have worked hand-in-hand and demonstrated with concrete actions the meaning of a community with a shared future. Since COVID-19 started, China has offered over 300 million doses of vaccines and a large amount of containment supplies to the ten ASEAN countries. The two sides have also conducted robust cooperation in vaccine development and production and in public health, setting a fine example of international cooperation to beat the virus.
We have forged closer bonds of mutual learning and people-to-people exchange, and jointly deepened affinity among our peoples. Our two sides have put in place important platforms and programs such as the China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week and the China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship, and have held "China-ASEAN Year" activities in such areas as culture, education and tourism. Before COVID-19, over 65 million mutual visits were recorded every year. There were more than 200,000 students studying in each other's countries. These interactions have effectively increased mutual understanding among our peoples, and made the garden of East Asian civilizations more flourishing.
We have developed an open and inclusive regional architecture, and jointly upheld international justice. China and ASEAN have maintained close communication and coordination on international and regional affairs. Together we have safeguarded the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and upheld international fairness and justice. China has firmly supported ASEAN integration and ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation, and has been working with ASEAN to forge a regional family of inclusiveness and solidarity.
Confucius once observed, "One should be able to establish himself at the age of thirty." Establishing oneself means independence and maturity. It also means being calm, collected and firmly resolved. At this crucial stage of building on past achievements and working for fresh progress, it is all the more important for us to cherish the valuable experience gained in the past three decades, treasure the friendship that we nurtured with dedication, value the hard-won state of peace and development, and keep our relations firmly in the right direction. China stands ready to work with ASEAN countries, and take the 30th anniversary as an opportunity to further unlock the potential of our cooperation, build a higher-level strategic partnership, and forge a stronger community with a shared future so as to create a more conducive strategic environment for our respective development and for the long-term peace and prosperity in our region.
We need to draw up a master plan for cooperation and work to upgrade our relations. We need to follow the guidance from the top level, strengthen exchanges between our leaders, deepen strategic communication and mutual political trust, and draw up a blueprint for the long-term growth of our relations. We need to continue to actively facilitate the establishment of a China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, demonstrating the will for solidarity and cooperation, and setting a new benchmark for and adding new substance to our relations.
We need to shape the trend of development and foster new growth areas for practical cooperation. China stands ready to take the opportunity of building a new development paradigm with dual circulations to further synergize development strategies with ASEAN. Our two sides need to conduct high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, jointly support the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), promote the early entry-into-force and implementation of the RCEP, and accelerate economic recovery in the region. Emerging fields including digital economy, technological innovation and blue economy need to be vigorously explored, and green transition and sustainable development strengthened in the region. China has officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and is ready to play a greater, positive role in economic globalization.
We need to improve people's well-being and make sure that cooperation benefits are shared by the people. China will continue to do its best to provide ASEAN with vaccines and other anti-COVID supplies, support the building of regional vaccine production and distribution centers, and work with ASEAN to strengthen public health cooperation to ensure the life, health and security of people in the region. We need to strengthen cooperation in such areas as poverty alleviation, disaster preparedness and relief and social development, help narrow regional development gap and improve people's lives, so as to achieve common prosperity for more people.
We need to carry forward our friendship forged over the past generations and strengthen the pillar of social and people-to-people exchange. We need to keep up the momentum of people-to-people exchange and cultural cooperation, and look into the early resumption of mutual visits in light of the COVID-19 situation. We need to tap into the role of the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund, further enhance cooperation in culture, tourism, youth, media, think tanks and others, send a stronger message of friendship and cooperation, and cement public support for our relations.
We need to focus on the vision of peace and ensure long-term stability and security of the South China Sea. We need to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), maintain that disagreements and disputes should be properly managed through dialogue and consultation by countries directly concerned, speed up consultations on the code of conduct (COC), steadily advance practical maritime cooperation, and make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
We need to follow the defining trend of the times and contribute positive energy to global governance. We need to hold high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, actively implement the Global Development Initiative, and jointly participate in global economic, security, cyberspace and environmental governance. We need to jointly uphold true multilateralism and open regionalism, and stand against unilateralism, protectionism, Cold War mentality and zero-sum game. We need to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of people in developing countries and the world, and help shape the international order toward greater justice and equality.
The past 30 years is a journey of perseverence, progress and productive cooperation. The fruitful results of China-ASEAN relations would not have been possible without the great vision of our leaders, the dedication of friends from both sides and the hard work of the people. Looking ahead, we need to continue to pool our strengths with a unity of purpose and forge ahead side by side to create a brighter future for China-ASEAN relations.