JAKARTA, 24 April 2020 – ASEAN and China reaffirmed their commitment to forge closer cooperation and further strengthen their strategic partnership at the 21st ASEAN-China Joint Cooperation Committee meeting held via video conference yesterday.

The meeting welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN-China Plan of Action 2016-2020 which includes the large number of activities and projects implemented in more than 90% of the action lines identified in the plan.

Progress has been made in areas such as political-security, trade, transport, tourism, education, public health, culture and information, media, environment, and narrowing the development gap. A new Plan of Action is also being prepared to further enhance cooperation for the next five-years (2021-2025).

Both sides further discussed the follow-up to the decisions and initiatives made at the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit last year. ASEAN and China continue to strengthen trade and investment relations, through the implementation of the Protocol to upgrade the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area as well as enhancing regional connectivity.

People-to-people exchanges are also being advanced through collaboration in areas such as tourism and education, including through the implementation of flagship projects such as the ASEAN-China Young Leaders’ Scholarship Programme.

The meeting also discussed activities under the ASEAN-China Digital Economy Year 2020 which would help enhance cooperation in areas such as e-commerce.

Further, the two sides exchanged views on development in the region. The meeting emphasised the efforts made by ASEAN and China in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers Meeting on COVID-19 held in February.

Both sides further underlined the need to step up ASEAN-China cooperation through existing frameworks in mitigating the pandemic and its impact. Participants also underscored the need to ensure the regional supply chains, especially for essential goods such as food, commodities, medicines and medical supplies.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN Noel Servigon and Ambassador of China to ASEAN Deng Xijun and attended by members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Political-Security Community, and their respective delegations.