Xi: China to grow closer to ASEAN

Pres­i­dent says ties to be an ex­am­ple of a com­mu­nity of shared destiny

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI in Manila, Philip­pines zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China is ready to bring greater close­ness to the China-ASEAN Com­mu­nity of Shared Destiny to make it an ex­am­ple within the Asian Com­mu­nity of Shared Destiny, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said on Tues­day.

Xi made the pledge when send­ing con­grat­u­la­tions on the 50th an­niver­sary of ASEAN’s found­ing in a mes­sage to Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, whose coun­try has ASEAN’s ro­tat­ing chair­man­ship this year.

As a sign of the boom­ing ties be­tween China and the 10-coun­try group, China has been ASEAN’s largest trade part­ner for eight years.

Their trade amounted to $452.2 bil­lion last year, and cur­rently about 2,700 flights con­nect China and the 10 coun­tries in ev­ery week.

Xi said that since their di­a­logue part­ner­ship was built in 1991, China and ASEAN have stayed true to co­op­er­a­tion and devel­op­ment, their po­lit­i­cal mu­tual trust has deep­ened and their prag­matic co­op­er­a­tion has seen fruit­ful out­comes.

“China-ASEAN ties have be­come one of the most vig­or­ous and en­riched di­a­logue part­ner­ships of ASEAN,” Xi added.

He noted that ASEAN has played an im­por­tant role in se­cur­ing re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity since its found­ing half a cen­tury ago, and it has

be­come a force that rep­re­sents the world’s de­vel­op­ing mul­ti­po­lar na­ture.

China ex­pects greater devel­op­ment of the ASEAN com­mu­nity, which will con­trib­ute more to re­gional peace, sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity and bet­ter ben­e­fit the peo­ple of its mem­ber coun­tries, Xi said.

As next year marks the 15 th an­niver­sary of China and ASEAN es­tab­lish­ing their strate­gic part­ner­ship, Xi said China would like to take the year as an op­por­tu­nity to ap­pre­ci­ate all that has been ac­com­plished and look at what can be done over the long run.

In Manila on Tues­day, For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi at­tended the grand cel­e­bra­tion of ASEAN’s 50th an­niver­sary along with his coun­ter­parts from ASEAN and other na­tions.

Duterte said, “We seek to en­gage with our neigh­bors pos­i­tively in di­a­logue part­ner­ships that con­tinue to grow.”

Philip­pine For­eign Sec­re­tary Alan Peter Cayetano told re­porters on Tues­day that “China plays a very pos­i­tive role” in the re­gion.

“China has shown eco­nomic strength ... in the last decades, its econ­omy has also fu­eled our growth in ASEAN with tourism from China, man­u­fac­tur­ing and in­fra­struc­ture projects,” he said.

In re­gard to the South China Sea sit­u­a­tion, Cayetano said, “All the pos­i­tive sides China has given to the re­la­tion­ship with ASEAN will not be dis­turbed” be­cause of dis­putes there.

“We will not al­low this to dis­turb our good re­la­tion­ships,” he said.

Wang said on Mon­day night that with the joint ef­forts of China and ASEAN coun­tries, the sit­u­a­tion in the South China Sea has been sta­bi­lized, and prag­matic co­op­er­a­tion has unfolded.

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