SINGAPORE, 9 June 2018 – ASEAN and the People’s Republic of China reaffirmed the importance of their strategic partnership and agreed to further strengthen the close relations at the 24th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation held on 8 June in Singapore.
Both sides welcomed the good progress made in advancing ASEAN-China cooperation over the past year, including the positive outcomes achieved at the 20th ASEAN-China Summit in Manila in November 2017. They will work closely to ensure the effective implementation of the Plan of Action (2016-2020) to enhance cooperation in a wide range of areas.
ASEAN and China agreed to further strengthen their substantive economic relationship. They also agreed to intensify efforts to meet the target of USD 1 trillion in trade volume and USD 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 reiterated the importance of promoting open and free trade, and looked forward to the conclusion of the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year to boost regional growth.
The meeting welcomed the successful launch of the “ASEAN-China Year of Innovation” in Beijing on 12 April 2018 and looked forward to enhancing cooperation in areas such as technological innovation and digital economy. Both sides agreed to continue updating the rolling list of activities for the ASEAN-China Year of Innovation, which includes a joint statement on science, technology and innovation to be issued at the ASEAN-China Summit in November. The meeting also welcomed China’s support for the priorities of ASEAN to strengthen resilience and innovation, including the recently established ASEAN Smart Cities Network.
The meeting discussed a series of initiatives and activities to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership this year. These include a Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 Statement to chart the future direction of ASEAN-China relations, to be adopted at the upcoming ASEAN-China Summit. ASEAN welcomed China’s continued support for ASEAN Centrality in the evolving regional architecture, and recognized China’s support for ASEAN Community-building and integration, including in enhancing ASEAN connectivity, narrowing the development gap, and promoting development cooperation.
The meeting also exchanged views on matters related to regional peace and stability. Both sides welcomed the positive developments in the Korean Peninsula including Inter-Korean Summits over the last two months, and looked forward to the successful conclusion of the US-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Summit scheduled on 12 June 2018 in Singapore. The Senior Officials reiterated support for the international efforts to bring about the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.
ASEAN and China welcomed the official commencement of the substantive negotiations on a COC in the South China Sea, underlined the need to maintain the momentum of dialogue and consultation to enhance mutual trust and confidence, and stressed the importance of fully and effectively implementing the DOC in its entirety, as well as working expeditiously toward an effective COC. ASEAN Senior Officials also reiterated the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea. They also agreed to enhance cooperation to address new and emerging challenges such as non-traditional security threats, food and energy security, climate change, disaster management, counter-terrorism, transnational crimes, and cyber-crimes.