Beijing, 16 December 2011

2011 marks the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-China ties, and the growing importance of the relationship by holding a reception celebrating the founding of ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) today.

The Centre was launched at the sidelines of the 14th ASEAN-China Summit in Bali in November this year.

“It is a special day today, as we witness an important milestone in ASEAN-China relations,” said Mr Yang Jiechi, Chinese Foreign Minister, as he officiated the reception with Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN.

Mr Yang also gave his support to the China-ASEAN Beijing Economic Forum, which ended with a gala dinner and performance at the Reignwood Theatre this evening.

He said China has always been a good friend with ASEAN, and the Central Government is committed to the peaceful development and the stability of the region.

“I have been to Nanning, Kunming, Chengdu, Wuhan, etc, and now, we are in Beijing – the cultural, political, science and technology and business capital of China, and the establishment of the ASEAN-China Centre here signifies the importance and commitment to the region’s peace, stability, as well as prosperity,” said Dr Surin.

Earlier in the day, Dr Surin also met Mr Liu Qi, Beijing Party Secretary and member of the Poliburo.

Mr Liu also gave his blessings and support to the ASEAN-China Centre, and the CABEF, adding that the forum should be an annual event.

“We are holding the China (Beijing) International Fair for Trade in Services in May next year. Perhaps CABEF can be held in the sidelines of the Fair,” suggested Mr Liu.

Dr Surin also suggested boosting educational exchanges, with perhaps a dozen students studying in China and further suggested for China to invest in ASEAN to support ASEAN Connectivity projects.

The ACC was set-up with the following objectives: a) to support the implementation of the Framework Agreement ; and various agreements on trade in goods, services, dispute settlement, investment and other agreements relating to economic cooperation signed under the umbrella of the Framework Agreement; b) to enhance two-way trade between ASEAN and China and further cultivate trade partnership in order to jointly promote exports to outside markets and achieve market expansion; c) to promote two-way flows of investment between ASEAN and China; d) to undertake activities to help investors and businessmen from less developed ASEAN Member States, especially Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, in exploring trade and investment opportunities in China; e) to promote flows of tourists between ASEAN and China; f) to enhance interaction among the business communities of ASEAN and China; g) to increase people-to-people contacts, public awareness, mutual understanding, as well as active participation among the ASEAN and Chinese peoples through cultural and educational exchanges; and h) to synergise the potentials of ASEAN and China in order to enhance the region’s appeal to external partners and facilitate access to ASEAN and Chinese ventures.