More sto­ries

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHOU WA zhouwa@chi­ HOR NAMHONG

The spe­cial meet­ing be­tween China and the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions’ for­eign min­is­ters sends “a clear mes­sage” to the world about the two sides’ com­mit­ment to deep­en­ing their part­ner­ship, the Cam­bo­dian for­eign min­is­ter said.

Hor Namhong, who is also the coun­try’s deputy prime min­is­ter, spoke with China Daily ahead of the Spe­cial China-ASEAN For­eign Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing in Bei­jing.

The meet­ing, the first of its kind be­tween China and ASEAN for­eign min­is­ters, has at­tracted vast me­dia at­ten­tion against the back­drop of ten­sions in the South China Sea.

“ASEAN and China are strongly com­mit­ted to fur­ther deep­en­ing and broad­en­ing the strate­gic part­ner­ship in all di­men­sions and at all lev­els in the years to come,” Hor Namhong said.

Cam­bo­dia will play a pos­i­tive role in co­or­di­nat­ing talks be­tween China and ASEAN mem­bers to help re­solve re­main­ing is­sues, in­clud­ing the South China Sea, he said.

“Cam­bo­dia will keep work­ing closely with other ASEAN mem­ber states and China to fur­ther deepen and broaden co­op­er­a­tion in all ar­eas,” he said.

The min­is­ter sug­gested that dif­fer­ences over some mat­ters, such as the South China Sea is­sue, could be re­solved “through close and friendly con­sul­ta­tions, based on key po­lit­i­cal and le­gal ele­ments of the Dec­la­ra­tion on the Con­duct of Par­ties in the South China Sea for a win-win out­come”.

At the meet­ing, Hor Namhong said he will stress the con­tin­ued com­mit­ment of China and ASEAN mem­bers to fur­ther pro­mote ASEAN-China co­op­er­a­tion in all fields.

Since the es­tab­lish­ment of the strate­gic part­ner­ship in 1993, China and ASEAN have made re­mark­able achieve­ments in ar­eas in­clud­ing po­lit­i­cal ties, se­cu­rity, eco­nomic ties and so­cio-cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion.

“China is one of the most dy­namic strate­gic part­ners of ASEAN,” Hor Namhong said.

“China has con­sis­tently sup­ported ASEAN in­te­gra­tion and com­mu­nity build­ing as well as ASEAN’s cen­tral role in evolv­ing re­gional ar­chi­tec­ture through co­op­er­a­tion in other im­por­tant frame­works, in­clud­ing the ASEAN Re­gional Fo­rum, the ASEAN De­fense Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing Plus and the East Asia Sum­mit.”

The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, es­tab­lished in 2010, has boosted trade in the re­gion.

Bi­lat­eral trade ex­panded at an aver­age an­nual rate of 21.6 per­cent from 2009 to 2012. To­tal trade vol­ume reached $318.6 bil­lion by the end of 2012, a yearly in­crease of 13.6 per­cent from $280.4 bil­lion in 2011.

“It is pleas­ing to note the pre­lim­i­nary work that was un­der­taken by ASEAN and Hong Kong to re­al­ize the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agree­ment. The ne­go­ti­a­tion on the agree­ment is ex­pected to com­mence in early 2014,” Hor Namhong said.

Peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes have no­tice­ably im­proved. The num­ber of schol­ar­ships given to ASEAN stu­dents study­ing in China has in­creased since 2005. In 2011, 50,000 ASEAN stu­dents stud­ied in China.

Hor Namhong sug­gested that China and ASEAN mem­bers con­tinue to pro­mote science and tech­nol­ogy trans­fers and hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment in im­por­tant ar­eas, in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, poverty erad­i­ca­tion and disas­ter man­age­ment.

China and ASEAN should also strengthen co­op­er­a­tion in nar­row­ing de­vel­op­ment dif­fer­ences and sup­port­ing ASEAN in­te­gra­tion and com­mu­nity build­ing, he added.

This year marks the 55th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween China and Cam­bo­dia. It is also the China-Cam­bo­dia Year of Friend­ship.

“I have great sat­is­fac­tion that over the past 55 years, our bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion has been de­vel­op­ing in all fields with the fre­quent ex­changes of high-level vis­its and at all lev­els be­tween our two coun­tries,” the min­is­ter said.

He Liu con­trib­uted to the story.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.