Stand together for 30 years, Start New journey with a shared future——Commemorating the 30 Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations
Ambassador Ouyang Yujing
2021-12-31 17:18

This year marks the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations. Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah co-chaired the China-ASEAN Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th  Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations. Malaysia Prime Minister Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and leaders from other ASEAN countries attended the Summit. During the Summit, leaders summarized the achievements and experiences of China-ASEAN relations over the past 30 years, and jointly drew up a blueprint for the future 30 years. Both sides issued Joint Statement of the China-ASEAN Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations, further deepening the development and cooperation. The most noticeable highlight of the Summit is the establishment of China-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which is a significant milestone in the history of China-ASEAN relations.

President Xi Jinping speaks highly of China-ASEAN relationship, pointing out that it has grown into the most successful and vibrant model for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and an exemplary effort in building a community with a shared future for mankind. “The most successful and vibrant model” means China-ASEAN relationship is unique, which squares with the facts.

Over the past 30 years, with the principle of mutual respect, win-win cooperation, mutual assistance, inclusiveness and mutual learning, China-ASEAN strategic partnership has grown in leaps and bounds with fruitful results in concrete cooperation. China and ASEAN are each other's largest trading partner, most dynamic cooperative partner and most profound strategic partner. The following data may reflect the sound momentum and great vitality of our relations. Over the past 30 years, our bilateral trade volume has increased from less than 8 billion US dollars to 684.6 billion in 2020, which has grown by more than 80 times. ASEAN’s trade with China accounts for less than 3% of its trade with the world in 1995, and now this figure jumps to more than 20%. Today, our total two-way investment has exceeded 31 billion US dollars. Before the pandemic broke out, the number of our mutual visits exceeded 65 million annually, with nearly 4500 flights every week between our two sides.  

At the starting point of the next 30 years, how should China and ASEAN keep deepening and substantiating the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for the greater benefit of more than 2 billion people from 11 countries? Chinese president Xi Jinping puts forward that we can build a peaceful home, a safe and secure home, a prosperous home, a beautiful home as well as an amicable home, which charts the correct course for upgrading China-ASEAN relations.

In Chinese Culture, the word “home” has special meaning.  Not only it means neighbourhood in geographic sense, but also connection between our souls. In a word, it indicates that China’s affection toward ASEAN is as deep as that among families. Families have a shared future, enjoying blessings and enduring misfortune together. Families often visit each other and honor kinship and fidelity. Families celebrate good fortune together and give a hand while the other being in trouble. As President Xi stresses, China was, is, and will always be ASEAN's good neighbor, good friend and good partner. China will unswervingly take ASEAN as a high priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, unswervingly support ASEAN unity and ASEAN Community building, unswervingly support ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, and unswervingly support ASEAN in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs.

The Chinese side has put forward a series of practical cooperation proposals during the Special Summit. China will provide 1,000 items of advanced and applicable technology to ASEAN, donate an additional 150 million doses of COVID vaccines, provide ASEAN with another US$1.5 billion of development assistance in the next three years, buy up to US$150 billion worth of agricultural products from ASEAN and support a program for 300 young scientists from ASEAN to come to China for exchanges in the next five years. China always keeps its promises and would never pay lip service. We mean what we say.

Malaysia is a witness, a participant and a contributor of China-ASEAN relation. China and ASEAN can not reach where we are today without Malaysia. Among the five founding members of ASEAN, Malaysia is the first one to establish diplomatic tie with the People’s Republic of China after ASEAN was established. We shall never forget that it was in Kuala Lumpur where China and ASEAN began their dialogue relations 30 years ago. Malaysia, at the same time, has also benefited from sound China-ASEAN relationship. In the early 1990s, Malaysia’s export volume to China was less than US$700 million. In 2020, this number has grown up to US$74.7 billion, increasing more than 100 times in 30 years. China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner for 12 years in a row and largest investor in manufacturing for five consecutive years.

A single flower does not make a spring, while hundreds of flowers in blossom bring spring to the whole garden. China will not be prosperous without ASEAN, and ASEAN’s development needs China as well. China is going to continue practicing the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership with our neighbours. Let us work hand in hand to build a peace, safe, prosperous, beautiful and friendly home, to build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, and to write another exciting chapter of our relations for the next 30 years.

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