To support ASEAN’s goal of achieving a truly connected region, the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC) – the body tasked to coordinate and oversee the effective implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity – convened the first meeting with its Chinese counterpart, the Chinese Working Committee of the China-ASEAN Connectivity Cooperation Committee (CWC-CACCC), at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta on 7 November 2012.

This inaugural meeting was the result of the vision envisaged by ASEAN Leaders and the Chinese Premier, H.E. Wen Jiabao at the 14th ASEAN-China Summit in Bali, Indonesia in November 2011.  It was chaired by H.E. Mr. Kan Pharidh, ACCC Chair and Permanent Representative of Cambodia to ASEAN. The meeting was also attended by representatives of all ASEAN Member States, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the CWC-CACCC, which was led by H.E. Mr. Chen Jian, Vice Minister of Commerce of China.

Against the current backdrop of a global economic slowdown, ASEAN and China believed that cooperation in connectivity would contribute to enhancing regional economic links, narrowing development gaps, strengthening regional competitiveness and achieving steady economic growth of all countries concerned.

ASEAN updated China on progress in implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, including the coordination mechanism. China briefed the meeting on the implementation status of current cooperation projects and expressed its continuous support to advance and deepen connectivity cooperation.

For the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity to be effectively implemented, the right mechanisms and resources need to be put in place. ASEAN highlighted that support from China and other external parties, including the multilateral development banks, international organisations and private sector are crucial to the implementation of priority projects elaborated in the Master Plan.  Both ASEAN and China deliberated on ways to enhance working mechanisms such as designating focal points to coordinate work, exploring the possibility of setting up a technical working group, etc.

ASEAN and China further agreed to hold regular meetings to undertake studies and determine key areas and prioritised projects for connectivity cooperation; coordinate technical and financial resources from ASEAN and China to better support financing for connectivity cooperation projects; and support activities such as workshops that foster effective partnerships in the area of connectivity.

Moving forward, ASEAN and China will continue the consultation process to expand project financing channels, develop new innovative modes of financing, enhance cooperation in infrastructure technology transfer, personnel training and sharing of experience towards enhancing connectivity cooperation.