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China and ASEAN Issue Joint Statement of Commemorative Summit Marking the 25th Anniversary of Bilateral Dialogue Relations

On September 7, 2016 local time, the commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations was held in Vientiane, Laos. The summit issued the Joint Statement of China-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, Joint Statement between China and ASEAN on Production Capacity Cooperation and many outcome documents on maritime security cooperation. The Joint Statement of China-ASEAN Commemorative Summit is one of the most macroscopic and comprehensive documents, which offers important guidance for the future development of bilateral relations.

Joint Statement of China-ASEAN Commemorative Summit consists of a preface and the text. The preface speaks highly of the achievements in the development of bilateral relations, stressing that China-ASEAN relations are among the most substantial and dynamic, which not only bring mutual benefits, but contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

In the text, the two sides reiterate their policies towards each other. China welcomes the establishment of the ASEAN Community, and reaffirms its continued support for ASEAN's integration process and ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture. The ASEAN reaffirms that China's development is an important opportunity for the region, and it supports China's pursuit of peaceful development. ASEAN countries also reaffirm adherence to the One-China policy.

Both sides also made plans on strengthening cooperation in various fields, such as politics, security, economy and trade, connectivity, education, tourism, environment and sub-regional cooperation, including being committed to the full and effective implementation of relevant protocols on an upgraded version of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, reaching the agreement on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at an early date and designating 2017 as China-ASEAN Year of Tourism Cooperation as well as proposing to strengthen cooperation within sub-regional frameworks such as the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation.

Content in the Joint Statement of China-ASEAN Commemorative Summit concerning the South China Sea issue is objective and positive, emphasizing that the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) is of milestone significance. All parties commit to the full and effective implementation of the DOC in its entirety and working substantively towards the early adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) based on consensus. They also welcome the adoption of the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of China and ASEAN Member States on the Full and Effective Implementation of the DOC in July and have approved two documents, Guidelines for Hotline Communications among Senior Officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of China and ASEAN Member States in Response to Maritime Emergencies, and a Joint Statement on the Application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea, presenting the active willingness and important consensus between China and ASEAN countries to return to the DOC-based regional framework and the right track of settling disputes through bilateral negotiation and consultation to the outside world.

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