HANGZHOU, 19 May 2019 – ASEAN and the People’s Republic of China agreed to strengthen economic ties and discussed future direction of their strategic partnership at the 25th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation held yesterday in Hangzhou, China.

Both sides reaffirmed the importance of their strategic partnership. China reiterated that it would always make ASEAN as a priority in neighbourhood diplomacy and firmly support ASEAN Community building and ASEAN Centrality in East Asia cooperation.

Both sides welcomed the progress in the implementation of the decisions made by the Leaders of ASEAN and China at the 21st ASEAN-China Summit held in Singapore in November 2018. The senior officials noted the progress ASEAN and China achieved over the past year in a wide-range of areas such as connectivity, education, human resource development, science and technology, culture and information, media, and digital economy.

They agreed to enhance economic ties to meet the target of US$1 trillion in trade volume and $150 billion in investments by 2020, including through the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) and the ACFTA Upgrading Protocol. Both sides also reiterated the importance of promoting open and free trade, and looked forward to the conclusion of the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership this year to boost regional growth.

ASEAN and China will work closely to effectively implement the remaining action lines of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity for the period of 2016-2020. The meeting noted that the formulation of the succeeding Plan of Action for the period of 2021 – 2025 would be announced later this year.The officials exchanged views on the future direction of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership particularly in the areas of defence and security, connectivity, Smart City, digital economy, production capacity, people-to-people exchanges, media, education, and sub-regional cooperation. ASEAN expressed appreciation to China for its commitment to increase its contribution to the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund this year and establish the Project Management Team in Jakarta to help ensure the effective and efficient implementation of joint projects under the Fund.

The meeting welcomed the launch of the “ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges” (YOME) in January 2019 and the Opening Ceremony of YOME in February in Beijing. A list of activities for YOME have been or will be carried out throughout the year and a joint statement on strengthening media exchanges and cooperation will be issued at the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit in November.

The officials exchanged views on matters related to regional security issues. Both sides welcomed the positive developments in the Korean Peninsula including the three Inter-Korean Summits and the two Summits between the US and the DPRK in June last year in Singapore and in Ha Noi, Viet Nam in February this year.

The meeting also noted the need to enhance cooperation to address regional challenges such as non-traditional security threats, such as terrorism, human trafficking, illicit drug abuse and cybercrime