China strengthens its relations with Asean
DURING At the 22nd ASEAN-China Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting held in March 2021, ASEAN and China agreed to strengthen their strategic partnership.
Recently, there has been a sharp increase in Chinese engagement with ASEAN, given the economic and strategic importance of Southeast Asia.
Last year, the Chinese foreign minister paid a visit to all countries in Southeast Asia except Vietnam.
The constant high-level interactions with ASEAN speak volumes about China’s respect, trust and appreciation for its Southeast Asian partners.
In June 2021, the special meeting of Asean-China foreign ministers included discussions on how to fight the coronavirus pandemic together. Currently, China has shipped medical supplies and 100 million vaccines to most ASEAN countries.
As part of China’s vaccine diplomacy, China has donated 29% of its total vaccine donations to Asean countries. Irrefutably, China has played a big role in increasing vaccination rates in Southeast Asia.
The special meeting of ASEAN-Chinese foreign ministers also marks the 30th anniversary of the dialogue relationship and highlights the enduring and lasting ties between China and Southeast Asia.
At the meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated that China will always go through difficult times such as the 2003 SARS epidemic and the current pandemic with its friends in Asean, while caring and understanding. trusting each other.
Wang also pointed out that the relationship between ASEAN and China can be transformed into a strategic partnership.
Xu Liping, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, adds that ASEAN and China can continue to cooperate in the coming decades, in areas such as digitization, the environment and supply chains. It should also be noted that under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, China is developing infrastructure throughout Southeast Asia.
Indonesia has successfully signed a memorandum of understanding with China to work closely on technology development and ensure internet security.
As part of China’s Digital Silk Road initiative, Huawei is currently advancing digital infrastructure in Indonesia, while collaborating with the Southeast Asian State Agency for technology assessment and application.
Huawei will contribute to the development of 5G networks, artificial intelligence and cloud computing in Indonesia, in line with the Indonesian government’s goal of creating an innovative and digital economy by 2035.
The Chinese company will also train around 100,000 Indonesian government officials in digital literacy.
This year is designated as the ASIAN-China Year of Cooperation for Sustainable Development. The two sides seek to improve bilateral cooperation to advance renewable and clean energy, reduce pollution and mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
Thailand is currently designated as the ASEAN Coordinator for Sustainable Development Cooperation.
During the 27th Asean-China Senior Officials Consultation in May 2021, the Thai Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs reaffirmed that Asean-China cooperation on sustainable development initiatives and environmental protection is of paramount importance.
China can work with the ASEAN bloc through the ASEAN Center for Studies and Dialogue on Sustainable Development to protect the environment and mitigate climate change.
In 2020, Asean and China are each other’s biggest trading partner. Li Kuiwen, spokesperson for Chinese customs, mentioned in January 2021 that the volume of trade between ASEAN and China had reached around $ 730 billion.
Recently, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce pledged to strengthen Sino-Vietnamese economic cooperation, trade and investment.
Even during the pandemic, bilateral trade between the two economic partners grew rapidly, contributing to the economic development of both countries.
China has supported Vietnam by importing large volumes of Vietnamese aquatic and agricultural products.
Since 2013, China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner. The two Asian partners have always maintained close economic ties.
Singapore-China bilateral trade reached about SG $ 136.2 billion in 2020, which has contributed to the economic development of the Southeast Asian state.
Singapore is a key strategic partner for China, being strategically located and has close ties with many of China’s trading partners.
China looks forward to strengthening trade relations with Singapore, in the hope that there will be more high-tech industrial cooperation between the two sides, and that Singapore’s exports of mineral fuels, chemicals and metals to China. China will increase in 2021.
In support of the Vision 2030 of the Asean-China Strategic Partnership and the Asean Smart City Network, China has been cooperating closely with its Southeast Asian partners on high-quality smart city projects.
China has invested in smart city infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, such as Forest City in Malaysia Johor Baru, New Yangon City Development in Myanmar, New Clark City in the Philippines, and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor. When building this infrastructure, China has taken advantage of digitization such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and automation.
There are also Belt and Road transport infrastructure projects such as the Laos-China Railway and the Thailand-China High Speed Railway.
The Thailand-China railway project will link Bangkok and Ayutthaya in Thailand to the Chinese city of Kunming, as part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
This transport project will improve the connectivity of the Thai capital in northeastern Thailand, boosting economic growth and creating business opportunities.
Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat recently mentioned at the FutureChina Global Forum that to ensure stability in Southeast Asia, it is of paramount importance to properly manage differences and conflicts.
Asean and China have always believed in mutual respect, peace and prosperity, and that the two sides can together shape a better future for their citizens.
The two sides hope to deepen their cooperation, while embracing multilateralism, inclusiveness and solidarity. Unequivocally, there will be more high-level bilateral meetings, public health cooperation to jointly fight the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as economic, infrastructure, sustainability and digital partnerships.
In uncertain times, it has become even more imperative for ASEAN and China to work closely together and ensure peace and prosperity for their people.