Li Keqiang Attends the 24th ASEAN-China Summit

On the afternoon of October 26, 2021, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 24th ASEAN-China Summit at the Great Hall of the People. 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, Philippine President 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. Li Keqiang and Haji Hassanal Bolkiah jointly presided over the meeting. Secretary-General of the ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi also attended the meeting which was held via video link.

Li Keqiang said that China-ASEAN relations now enjoy a sound and steady growth. Our practical cooperation keeps moving ahead across the board. Over the past year, President Xi Jinping and leaders of ASEAN countries have engaged in in-depth strategic communication through multiple means. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relationship. Over the past three decades, we have remained committed to amity and good faith, mutual benefit and win-win results. We have upheld multilateralism and safeguarded overall stability and sustained economic growth in the region. Despite the impact of COVID-19, China and ASEAN extended mutual help and support, further cementing bilateral relations.

Li Keqiang pointed out that China will deepen friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with ASEAN countries and the wider world in the course of opening-up. He put forward the following six-point proposal for China-ASEAN cooperation in the new stage:

First, we need to jointly build a line of defense for health. We need to enhance anti-COVID policy communication and coordination. China stands ready to further increase assistance in vaccines and anti-COVID supplies for ASEAN countries and jointly enhance capacity for early warning and emergency response. China proposes establishing a China-ASEAN Public Health Research and Development Collaborating Center to empower public health cooperation with science and technology.

Second, we need to deepen economic integration. We need to hasten work for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to take effect as early as possible, so that people of all regional countries get to benefit from its outcomes at an early date. China is ready to officially launch the joint feasibility study to identify other areas for possible inclusion in further enhancing the China-ASEAN FTA. China proposes discussing Multi-Nation Multi-Park cooperation with ASEAN. China has officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and hopes to have the support of ASEAN countries.

Third, we need to promote inclusive development. We need to speed up the building of the 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.

Fourth, we need to uphold an innovation-driven approach. We need to deliver on the plan of action on a partnership of science, technology and innovation for the next five years. We need to work with ASEAN to explore cooperation on industrial design and finalize the Plan of Action on the Implementation of the China-ASEAN Digital Economy Partnership (2021-2025) as quickly as possible.

Fifth, we need to expand green cooperation. We need to implement well the Framework of China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Strategy and Action Plan (2021-2025), to tackle climate change together, preserve global and regional biodiversity and push for the transition and upgrading of energy industries and economic structures as appropriate.

Sixth, we need to cement the foundation of popular support. We should manage the return of ASEAN students to China for school in a phased manner while ensuring COVID-related safety. China proposes setting up a China-ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting mechanism on education. We need to make the most of the China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship and other platforms and make an additional contribution to the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund.

Li Keqiang stressed that China is firm in its commitment to the path of peaceful development, to safeguarding world peace and regional stability, and to promoting common development. Peace in the South China Sea serves the common interest of China and ASEAN countries. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). China hopes to work with ASEAN countries to use it as an opportunity to actively expand maritime practical cooperation, expedite negotiations and strive for early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Li Keqiang pointed out that China always sees ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy. We will, as always, firmly support the building of the ASEAN Community, firmly support ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, and firmly support ASEAN in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs. China is willing to jointly hold a summit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relationship. He believes the giant ship of China-ASEAN friendship and cooperation will sail ahead steadily, and make greater contributions to peace, stability, development and prosperity of Asia.

Leaders of ASEAN countries attending the meeting said that China is a close dialogue and cooperation partner of ASEAN. ASEAN-China relationship is the most comprehensive and strategic one among those relations between 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 win-win results 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.

China-ASEAN Joint Statement on Cooperation in Support of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and China-ASEAN Joint Statement on Enhancing Green and Sustainable Development Cooperation were released at the meeting.

Xiao Jie attended the meeting.