China’s deployment of a permanent mission to ASEAN reflects the importance of relations with the Southeast Asian group, said the country’s first resident Ambassador to ASEAN.

Madam Yang Xiuping is China’s third Ambassador to the group, but the first to be stationed here in Jakarta.

“I’m honoured to be the first resident Ambassador of China to ASEAN,” said Ambassador Yang, adding that her Mission would like “to serve as a bridge of communication, linkage of cooperation, and a messenger of friendship, to promote ASEAN-China strategic partnership to a new height.”

Under the ASEAN Charter, non-ASEAN Member States and relevant intergovernmental organisations may appoint and accredit Ambassadors to ASEAN.

Ambassador Yang presented her credentials to ASEAN Secretary-General, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, at the ASEAN Secretariat this morning.

The two leaders updated each other on ASEAN-China cooperation, and pledged to work closely to further strengthen the strategic partnership.

Dr. Surin said that the positive growth in volume of trade between ASEAN and China must also be matched in foreign direct investment from China to ASEAN.

“We would like to encourage China to step-up efforts to promote more foreign direct investment into ASEAN,” said the Secretary-General. China remains as ASEAN’s largest trading partner. According to ASEAN stats, ASEAN-China trade in 2011 reached USD280.4 billion while the foreign direct investment flows from China to ASEAN amounted to USD5.9 billion.

Both Dr Surin and Ambassador Yang are optimistic that total two-way trade will surpass the US$500-billion mark by 2015.

Responding to Ambassador Yang’s query on the preparations for the 21st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, Dr. Surin said “preparations are on course, and I hope no difficulties will again come in the way, so that all the high level consultations will achieve the desired outcomes.”