BEIJING, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- China would deepen friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here Tuesday.
Li made the remarks at the 24th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting via video link.
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, the rotating presidency of the ASEAN, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended the meeting via video link. Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of the ASEAN, also attended the meeting via video link.
Li said China-ASEAN relations enjoy sound and steady development, and pragmatic cooperation in various fields continues to advance. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between China and the ASEAN.
Over the past 30 years, the two sides have persisted in mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, supported multilateralism, maintained overall regional stability, and sustained economic growth. Facing the impact of COVID-19, China and the ASEAN have helped and supported each other and consolidated their relations.
Li said China stands ready to deepen friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries, including the ASEAN, through opening up.
Li called for enhancing communication and coordination on anti-pandemic policies. He said China is willing to further increase vaccine and anti-pandemic material assistance to ASEAN countries and jointly improve early warning and emergency response capabilities. China also proposed to create a China-ASEAN science and technology cooperation center for public health.
Li also called for promoting the early entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to benefit the people of all countries in the region as soon as possible.
China is willing to officially launch the joint feasibility study to identify other areas for possible inclusion in further enhancing the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA). China has formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and hopes to have support of ASEAN countries, the premier said.
Li proposed accelerating the building of a partnership on blue economy. "China is ready to enhance international development cooperation with ASEAN, set up dedicated offices in ASEAN countries and build demonstration areas of development cooperation," Li said.
Li said China will work with the ASEAN to explore cooperation on industrial design, and formulate the Action Plan for Implementing the ASEAN-China Partnership on the Digital Economy 2021-2025 as soon as possible.
To expand a green collaboration, China and the ASEAN should jointly address climate change, safeguard global and regional biodiversity, and promote the transformation and upgrading of the energy industry and economic structure, said Li.
Li proposed establishing a mechanism for China-ASEAN senior education officials' meetings, and said China will make additional contributions to the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund.
He said that peace in the South China Sea serves the common interest of China and ASEAN countries. Regional development is the shared aspiration of the two sides, and regional tranquility requires joint efforts.
"Next year is the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). China wishes to work with ASEAN countries to mark the occasion with commemorative activities," said Li.
He added the two sides should use it as an opportunity to expand practical maritime cooperation, expedite Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) negotiations, and strive for its early conclusion to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship, and collaboration.
Li pointed out that China always regards the ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy. China firmly supports the building of the ASEAN community, supports ASEAN's centrality in the regional architecture, and backs ASEAN playing a more significant role in regional and international affairs.
China is ready to co-host a summit with the ASEAN commemorating the 30th anniversary of their dialogue relations. It is believed that China and ASEAN will make more contributions to peace, stability, development, and prosperity in Asia, Li said.
Leaders of ASEAN countries attending the meeting said that China is a close dialogue and cooperation partner of the ASEAN. They added that ASEAN-China relationship is the most comprehensive and strategic one among those relations between the ASEAN and its dialogue partners.
They expressed support for the upgrading of ASEAN-China ties and appreciated China's vaccine and material assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
ASEAN countries stand ready to work with China to expand cooperation on trade and investment, connectivity, the digital economy, public health, and sustainable development, and deepen people-to-people exchanges, to achieve mutual benefit and contribute to regional peace, stability, and prosperity.
ASEAN countries are ready to work with China to implement the DOC and reach an effective and substantive COC as soon as possible. ASEAN countries hope the RCEP will come into force as soon as possible. ASEAN countries also look forward to holding a summit with China to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral dialogue relations.