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Wang Yi Talks about China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting

On July 25, 2016, Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media after attending the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane of Laos.

Wang Yi said that I have just held the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with colleagues from ASEAN countries. It is an important annual meeting, during which we summarized past achievements and made plans for the future. We mainly made adequate preparation for the commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations that the two sides are going to hold in Vientiane this September.

We both spoke highly of the important accomplishments that both sides have made since the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. We agreed that in the past 25 years, both sides have upheld mutual respect, mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual support and bilateral cooperation has yielded fruitful results, which has not only brought tangible benefits to the two peoples, but also set up a paradigm for equal treatment and common development between large and small countries. China and the ASEAN are not only strategic partners that always stand together regardless of the situation, but also are becoming a community of common destiny featuring mutual benefit and win-win results. Looking into the future, we both agree to further enhance communication, deepen political mutual trust, stick to win-win cooperation, enlarge the integration of interests and further consolidate friendship between the two peoples so as to jointly maintain regional stability.

For the next 25 years, China will continue to regard the ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, pursue and implement the concept of “amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness”, support the building of the ASEAN community and back the central role of the ASEAN in regional cooperation. China is willing to make joint efforts with the ASEAN to forge a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny. As for the next phase of China-ASEAN relations, China put forward six key tasks, receiving positive response from ASEAN countries:

First, the two sides need to well host the commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. Through close cooperation, both sides should promote the success of the summit so as to send out a positive signal.

Second, the two sides should continue to promote practical cooperation so that the protocol on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area signed during last year’s China-ASEAN Summit can be implemented as soon as possible, economic and trade contacts can be further expanded, and industrial transformation and upgrade will be advanced.

Third, the two sides need to create new pillars for social, people-to-people and cultural cooperation. The two sides have achieved tremendous progress in the two fields of political security and economic and trade cooperation. For the next step, both sides will prioritize education and tourism and forge new pillars for bilateral people-to-people and cultural cooperation. This year is China-ASEAN Education Exchange Year and China-ASEAN Tourism Cooperation Year will be held in 2017.

Fourth, the two sides should deepen cooperation in political security. China reiterates its willingness to negotiate and sign “the treaty of good neighborly and friendly cooperation between China and the ASEAN” with the ASEAN as soon as possible. China supports the ASEAN's efforts in building the Southeast Asian nuclear weapon-free zone and is willing to sign the related protocol with the ASEAN at an early date.

Fifth, the two sides need to develop new platforms for sub-regional cooperation. China is willing to help the ASEAN to narrow down internal development gap through the Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism and make new contributions to the building of the ASEAN community and the ASEAN integration process.

Sixth, the two sides should jointly safeguard regional peace and stability. We agree to proceed from the overall situation, focus on cooperation, properly deal with differences, hold the key of regional peace and stability in our own hands and jointly explore a development path conforming to regional reality.

In conclusion, the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting this time is a full success and has realized common goals of the two sides. It has not only drawn a blueprint for the future development of China-ASEAN relations, but also pulled the South China Sea issue back to the right track.

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