ASEAN-CHINA COOPERATION TOWARDS THE 21ST CENTURY

1. The Heads of State/Government of the member states of ASEAN and the President of the People’s Republic of China expressed satisfaction with the rapidly developing relations between ASEAN and China as well as between individual ASEAN member states and China. They agreed that the consolidation of these relations served the fundamental interests of their respective peoples as well as the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

2. They affirmed that the Charter of the United Nations, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the Five principles of Peaceful Coexistence and universally recognized international law should serve as basic norms governing their relations. They reaffirmed in particular their respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.

3. They undertook to promote good-neighbourly and friendly relations, increase high-level exchanges, strengthen the mechanism of dialogue and cooperation in all areas to enhance understanding and mutual benefit.

4. They agreed to enhance cooperation at the ASEAN Regional Forum and other regional and international organisations and fora.

5. They undertook to heighten cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels in promoting economic growth, sustainable development and social progress on the basis of the principles of equality mutual benefit and shared responsibility in the interest of achieving national and regional prosperity in the 21st century. They would further enhance cooperation through mechanisms such as the ASEAN-China Joint Cooperation Committee, the ASEAN-China Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation and the ASEAN- China Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation. They would continue their close coordination and cooperation in regional or sub-regional organizations or projects, such as in APEC and ASEM.

6. China expressed full confidence in the economies of the ASEAN region and their future prospects, recognizing the strong fundamentals in their economies. China underlined its conviction that the economics of the East Asian region would continue to be one of the fastest growing in the world. ASEAN member states and China agreed on the need to consolidate their close economic relations by promoting trade and investment, facilitating market access, improving the flow of technology and enhancing the flow of and access to trade and investment related information. They reaffirmed their common interest in developing the Mekong Basin and pledged to strengthen their support for the riparian countries by promoting activities in the areas of trade, tourism and transport. They reaffirmed support for universality of World Trade Organisation membership and for the early entry of China and of the ASEAN applicants to the WTO.

7. They noted that the Finance Ministers of ASEAN and the People’s Republic of China at the recent meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 2 December 1997 discussed national efforts and regional and international cooperation to address the present financial situation in the region. They endorsed the Finance Ministers’ agreement on the rapid implementation of the Manila Framework as a constructive step towards promoting financial stability in the region. They encouraged efforts to carry forward the initiatives under the Manila Framework and work closely with the IMF, World Bank, ADB and international regulatory bodies. ASEAN member states noted with appreciation China’s contribution to the recent financing packages in the region and both sides reaffirmed the importance of enhanced cooperation on economic and financial issues between the Finance Ministers of ASEAN and the People’s Republic of China.

8. Recognizing that the maintenance of regional peace and stability served the interests of all parties, they undertook to resolve their differences or disputes through peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, The parties concerned agreed to resolve their disputes in the South China Sea through friendly consultations and negotiations in accordance with universally recognized international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. While continuing efforts to find solutions, they agreed to explore ways for cooperation in the areas concerned. In the interest of promoting peace and stability as well as enhancing mutual confidence in the region, the parties concerned agreed to continue to exercise self-restraint and handle relevant differences in a cool and constructive manner. They further agreed not to allow existing differences to hamper the development of friendly relations and cooperation.

9. China appreciated and supported ASEAN’s positive role in international and regional affairs. China reaffirmed that it would respect and support the efforts of ASEAN to establish a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality in Southeast Asia. In this connection, China welcomed the entry into force of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon- Free Zone Treaty. The two sides also welcomed the ongoing consultations between the State Parties to the Treaty and the Nuclear Weapon States to facilitate the accession by the latter to the Protocol of the SEANWFZ Treaty. ASEAN member states believed that a stable, peaceful and prosperous China would constitute an important factor for the long-term peace, stability and development of the Asia- Pacific region in particular and of the world in general. ASEAN member states reaffirmed their continued adherence to the “one China” policy.

10. ASEAN member states and China committed themselves to jointly contribute to the promotion of peace and progress in the Asia- Pacific region and the world, and to respond positively to the challenges of a dynamic regional and international environment.

11. China welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN Vision 2020, reflecting ASEAN’s dynamism and determination to meet the challenges of the coming century.

12. ASEAN member states and China regarded the development of a partnership of good-neighbourliness and mutual trust between them as an important policy objective for relations between ASEAN and China in the 21st century.