China-ASEAN relations reach new heights

From January 11th to 16th, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi embarked on a six-day tour of Southeast Asia, paying official visits to Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN. Analysts believe that this visit will release a signal of solidarity and friendship between China and its neighbors and developing countries, and will push the relationship between China and the four Southeast Asian countries and China and ASEAN to new heights at important time points.

Southeast Asian countries are China’s friendly neighbors connected by land and sea, and important partners in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road”. China has always attached great importance to developing relations with Southeast Asian countries. Moreover, the four Southeast Asian countries that Wang Yi visited this time-Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines are all ASEAN countries. China regards ASEAN as the priority direction of neighboring diplomacy and high-quality joint construction of the “Belt and Road” key area. China-ASEAN cooperation has become The most successful and dynamic model of regional cooperation. Therefore, Wang Yi’s visit to Southeast Asia has aroused great attention from the international community.

International public opinion pointed out that Wang Yi’s first visit to Africa in the New Year is a “traditional project”, and Southeast Asia was chosen for his second visit this year. The main purpose is to accelerate the “Belt and Road” initiative, establish friendly diplomatic relations with Southeast Asian countries, and jointly promote economic development. At the same time, this visit also shows that China attaches great importance to neighboring diplomacy.

Since August last year , Wang Yi has held various forms of offline diplomatic activities with foreign ministers of eight Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. In addition to the four countries that Wang Yi visited this time, China has achieved full coverage of bilateral offline exchanges with the 10 ASEAN countries since the outbreak.

In addition, the timing of this visit is particularly interesting. One is that Wang Yi started his official visit to the four Southeast Asian countries only one day after he returned from his visit in the first year of the year. The second is that Wang Yi’s current visit is only three months after his last visit to Southeast Asian countries. In October 2020, Wang Yi visited Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and transited to visit Singapore. Public opinion analysis believes that non-stop diplomacy with neighbors will help promote China-ASEAN relations to embark on a new journey at an important time.

China and ASEAN countries live next to each other, their economies are highly complementary, and there is a wide space for cooperation and great potential. The two sides established a dialogue partnership in 1991 and upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2003. In the past eight years, they have jointly built the “Belt and Road”. The content of cooperation has been continuously enriched, the level of cooperation has increased year by year, and the degree of cooperation has become increasingly close. In 2020, China and ASEAN are each other’s largest trading partners for the first time. In particular, the conclusion of the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” has demonstrated a broad space for China and ASEAN to strengthen cooperation. 2021 is the first year of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan. It is a key year for ASEAN’s fight against the epidemic and economic recovery and growth. It is the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue partnership between China and ASEAN. It is the year of China-ASEAN cooperation in sustainable development and deepening. An important period of economic cooperation between the two sides. These nodes will bring new opportunities for the development of the relationship between the two parties. There are many important tasks that need to be planned together at the beginning of the new year. Wang Yi’s visit shows that China is willing to work with ASEAN countries to take the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations as an opportunity to enhance the positioning of China-ASEAN relations, build a blue economic partnership between the two sides, explore the establishment of a closer bilateral comprehensive economic partnership, and promote both sides The cooperation is further improved and upgraded.



Source: China – ASEAN Business Council