On February 22, 2023 local time, Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Kao Kim Hourn in Jakarta.
Qin Gang said, ASEAN is one of the most successful regional cooperation organizations, and its position has become even more important against the background of profound changes in the global and regional landscape. China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership now enjoys a sound momentum of development. This year marks the 10th anniversary of building a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future and the Belt and Road Initiative initiated by President Xi Jinping, as well as the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. China is willing to continue the building of a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home with ASEAN and enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides, and will keep our support for the ASEAN Secretariat doing its job and work together for new achievements in China-ASEAN cooperation and new progress in East Asia cooperation.
Qin Gang said, as the world economic recovery is sluggish and the Ukraine crisis has dragged on with the mounting geopolitical competition, the Asia-Pacific region faces a choice for peace or confrontation, cooperation or division. China firmly supports the ASEAN centrality, and supports ASEAN in upholding strategic independence, openness and inclusiveness, and not taking sides or targeting any third party. China is willing to join hands with ASEAN to meet challenges, and reject "decoupling and severing supply chains" or "building walls and barriers".
Kao Kim Hourn expressed appreciation for the longstanding and great importance China has attached to and its valuable support for the building of ASEAN integration. He said that China is the first major country to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and also a vital strategic partner of ASEAN. The relationship between the two sides has been strategically upgraded, and cooperation has been deepened with growing mutual trust. He is ready to work with the Chinese side to take the ASEAN-China comprehensive strategic partnership to a new height and jointly maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity.
The two sides agreed to accelerate the negotiations of the Version 3.0 China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, promote the high-quality implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and foster more economic growth drivers so that this region will continue to be a powerhouse for global development. The two sides will jointly ensure the success of the 20th anniversary of the China-ASEAN Expo.
Both sides will accelerate the resumption of personnel exchanges in an orderly manner and promote closer people-to-people ties between China and ASEAN.
The two sides will work for new progress in the consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, to provide institutional safeguards for maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Qin Gang had a group meeting the same day with members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN. The two sides expressed their belief that China-ASEAN cooperation is dynamic and mutually beneficial, benefiting 2 billion people in 11 countries on both sides. The two sides will strengthen the synergy of regional sustainable development with the Global Development Initiative, ensure the success of the China-ASEAN Year of Agricultural Development and Food Security Cooperation, expand cooperation in various fields of tourism and transportation, digital economy, disaster response, clean energy, health care and capacity building, promote regional connectivity, and enhance the resilience of supply chains. Qin Gang stressed that China will as always regard ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, firmly support the ASEAN unity and ASEAN's community building, and consolidate the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership on the three pillars of promoting economic growth, maintaining regional stability and strengthening people-to-people and cultural exchanges.