This is an important event, which is taking place right after ASEAN and China lifted their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, bringing cooperation to a new stage of development.
ASEAN and China established relations in 1991 and upgraded their relationship to a strategic partnership in 2003. At the 24th ASEAN-China Summit, on October 26, 2021, the two sides agreed to establish the ASEAN-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Over the past 30 years, ASEAN-China relations have been growing strongly, comprehensively and in a substantive manner. ASEAN countries attach importance and give a high priority to cooperation with China. China is the first country to establish a strategic partnership with ASEAN, which is then upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Affirming that it attaches importance to ASEAN’s position and voice, China has fully participated in regional mechanisms initiated and led by ASEAN, supported ASEAN’s solidarity and central role in regional cooperation processes, and supported ASEAN to promote its greater role in the world. China and ASEAN signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea/South China Sea in 2002 and the two sides are promoting negotiations on the Code of Conduct for the East Sea.
Since 2009, China has become ASEAN’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade value reaching 517 billion USD in 2020. ASEAN became China’s largest trading partner in 2020. China’s foreign direct investment in ASEAN has reached 7.6 billion USD, ranking 4th among investors in the region.
ASEAN and China are stepping up cooperation in education, culture, labour, social security, the environment, and healthcare. The two sides have chosen 2021 as the ASEAN-China Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation, with many cooperation programmes planned on public health, food security, poverty reduction, climate change and clean energy.
In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have proactively cooperated since the beginning. China actively takes part in initiatives and promotes cooperation with ASEAN in: coping with COVID-19, comprehensive and sustainable recovery through exchanging information and experience, supporting vaccine research and development, making contributions to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, funding public health cooperation programme, and supporting ASEAN in implementing the comprehensive recovery framework. The two sides facilitate enterprises to boost trade and investment and address the consequences of the pandemic.
The special summit commemorating the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China relations is an important opportunity, marking a journey of substantive and effective cooperation between the two sides. Attending the summit, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other leaders will discuss and outline cooperation orientations for the new period, commensurate with the importance of the ASEAN-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
The attendance of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh affirms Vietnam’s foreign policy of proactively and actively deepening international integration, and promoting and enhancing multilateral external relations. It also reflects Vietnam’s responsible and effective participation and contribution to promoting ASEAN-China relations to grow in a substantive, stable and sustainable manner, meeting the interests of each side, helping to reinforce an environment of peace, security, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.