JAKARTA, 2 July 2020 – Senior Officials from ASEAN and the People’s Republic of China reaffirmed the importance of their strategic partnership and agreed to further enhance their relations at the 26th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation held online yesterday.

Both ASEAN and China noted the progress of the ASEAN-China Plan of Action 2016-2020’s implementation, particularly in areas such as political-security cooperation, trade, transport, tourism, ICT, smart cities,

Next month, the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and China will adopt a new Plan of Action to further enhance cooperation for the next five-years (2021-2025), which is currently being finalised.

At the meeting, Senior Officials further discussed the follow-up on decisions and initiatives made by Leaders at the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit last year and efforts to strengthen trade and investment relations, including through the implementation of the Protocol to upgrade the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area as well as enhancing regional connectivity.

Both sides emphasised the collaborative efforts in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, through the convening of the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers Meeting on COVID-19 and the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19, held respectively in February and April. ASEAN and China also agreed to further enhance cooperation through existing mechanisms to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and prepare for future emergency health issues.

The Meeting also stressed the need for ASEAN and China to work together for the regional post-pandemic recovery. ASEAN and China must work towards the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement this year to boost regional economic growth.

The Senior Officials welcomed last month’s launch of the ASEAN-China Digital Economy Cooperation Year 2020 and discussed activities under the ASEAN-China Digital Economy Year which would help enhance cooperation in areas such as e-commerce.

The Senior Officials also exchanged views on matters related to regional security issues. Both sides welcomed the progress of negotiations on a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea through the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft Negotiating Text of the COC and the commencement of the second reading, and stressed the need to continue the momentum, and the importance of maintaining peace and security in the region.

Next year would mark the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations and officials from both sides will continue to discuss preparations for this milestone in the relationship.

The meeting was co-chaired by Acting Senior Official of the Philippines Junever M. Mahilum-West and China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong and attended by Senior Officials from ASEAN Member States and the Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community.