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China, ASEAN draw new blueprint of development

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

09-09-2016 09:18 BJT

By Zhao Minghao, researcher with the Charhar Institute

Enhancing international and regional relations remains an essential part of China’s “great-power diplomacy.” After the successful conclusion of the Group of 20 (G20) Summit in Hangzhou, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang departed to Laos for the China-ASEAN leaders' meeting and East Asia Summit.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of dialogue relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Li’s visit holds special importance.

At the end of 2015, the ASEAN community announced completion of the ten countries integration process and stepped onto a new stage, which is of vital importance for Asia-Pacific regional and global future development.

The world economy has been sluggish, which means globalization is mired in its most difficult phase since the end of the Cold War. Confrontations in world politics have been increasing, while a new wave of trade protectionism and heated geo-political conflicts in Ukraine and Syria have sparked deeper challenges.

On account of the refugee crisis, the European Union faces graver challenges. Nevertheless, the unity and cooperation of ASEAN member states stand out as much more precious. Beijing stands supportive of ASEAN at all times.

The combined populations of China and ASEAN countries are approximately 2 billion, accounting for 30 percent of the world’s total. The China-ASEAN relationship has become one of the strongest and most fruitful diplomatic relations in the world.

In 2015, trade volume between both sides reached $ 472.1 billion dollars with investment reaching beyond $ 156.4 billion dollars. Exchanges among the people exceeded 23 million person times.

China has been the biggest trade partner of ASEAN for seven successive years and ASEAN remains the third biggest trade partner of China. 

An important goal of Premier Li’s visit is to continue pushing to implement the “2+7 cooperation framework,” a strategic proposal introduced by Beijing and supported by ASEAN to forge ahead on the China-ASEAN “diamond decade” roadmap.

The “2+7 cooperation framework” includes accelerating connectivity infrastructure construction, enhancing regional financial cooperation and promoting maritime coordination.

On July 1, the upgraded China-ASEAN free trade zone protocol went into effect, bringing new opportunities for mutual economic cooperation. Trade volume between China and ASEAN is expected to reach one trillion US dollars in 2020 with newly-added mutual investments of 150 billion US dollars.

Cultural and educational exchanges would emerge as new pillars in bilateral relations. Although trade contacts have been frequent, mutual understanding remains insufficient, while education and tourism have become priorities for mutual cooperation.

2016 is the China-ASEAN educational exchange year. Exchanges of students between the two have exceeded 180,000 person times, and China will provide 10,000 government scholarships in the coming decade for students from ASEAN countries.

Respective bilateral ties between China and each ASEAN country will pursue greater development. As the rotating ASEAN presidency, Laos’ cooperation with China has made impressive achievements.

In Dec. 2015, a foundation stone laying ceremony of the China-Laos railway was commemorated. The project helps the inland country to alleviate traffic congestion and serves as a critical hub for Laos to get more connected with China and other ASEAN countries.

With China’s promotion, the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism was established last year, which benefits Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. 

As stated in the 2025 Blueprint of the ASEAN economic community, expediting industrialization and infrastructure construction is one of ASEAN’s future development goals, which has received Beijing’s support.

During his visit, Li will work with his ASEAN counterparts to draw up a new blueprint to boost bilateral ties, lift East Asian cooperation to a new stage, and forge stronger China-ASEAN relations that benefits all parties.

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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