【中国国际电视台新闻频道（CGTN）】葛红亮：China, ASEAN continue to upgrade quality cooperation through BRI
2019-09-24 11:41 (点击：)
Opinion 14:36, 23-Sep-2019
Editor's note: Ge Hongliang is a senior research fellow at the Charhar Institute and a Ph.D. from the College of ASEAN Studies at Guangxi University for Nationalities. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
The curtains were raised on the 16th China-ASEAN Expo on September 21, 2019 in Nan Ning China. The theme of this year's four-day long CAEXPO is "Building the Belt & Road (BRI,) Realizing Our Vision for a Community of Shared Future."The Trade & Investment Promotional Events will be held at the same time. The annual expo shows China's desire to upgrade the quality of its cooperation with countries along the BRI.
China-ASEAN strategic cooperation relationship was set up in 2003. And in 2013, the two sides established the vision of creating a "diamond decade." Based on this vision, China and ASEAN countries have continuously strengthened strategic communication, promoted practical cooperation in the process of building BRI jointly, handled their differences respectfully, and maintained regional stability together. Through the years, they have made their bilateral relations more comprehensive and mature.
Specifically, China and ASEAN countries have developed their relationship in terms of politics and security. On the one hand, China has always supported ASEAN's centrality in regional and multilateral frameworks and the building and development of the ASEAN community firmly. On the other, China and ASEAN have increased their strategic cooperation significantly in recent years.
China and five countries of the Mekong River set up a sub-regional cooperation mechanism called Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism. And now, China and ASEAN countries are seeking to integrate BRI with "Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025."
Regarding regional security, many ASEAN countries, including Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, recognize China's role in it. China and ASEAN have now completed joint maritime exercises for two consecutive years.
Economic cooperation is also key for China and ASEAN in maturing their relationship. The agreement on upgrading China-ASEAN FTA will soon come into full force. China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner for two consecutive years. In the first half of the year of 2019, ASEAN was China's second largest trading partner. Chinese enterprises have invested over 100 billion U.S. dollars in ASEAN countries to build 25 economic and trade cooperation zones, and created over 100,000 local jobs. China and ASEAN countries are now promoting their cooperation on International production capacity, digital economy and e-commerce.
Special commodities from countries along the BRI have attracted public attentions in the CAEXPO, Nanning, China, September 22. /VCG Photo
The two sides also agreed to strengthen cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges in a joint statement. ASEAN countries have become the top tourist destination for Chinese tourists. In 2018, 57 million visits were made between China and south east Asian countries.
Nevertheless, China and ASEAN countries face multiple difficulties and challenges in deepening BRI cooperation and promoting the quality of their bilateral relations. China and ASEAN should focus on the following three aspects:
First, China and ASEAN countries should continue strengthening their strategic cooperation. Thy should promote their strategic fit on BRI and MPAC 2025 in accordance with the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, and formulate and implement bilateral cooperation plans jointly.
Next, China and ASEAN countries should make their cooperation more practical. According to the 2030 vision, the two sides should strengthen the construction of the three pillars of political and security, economic, and cultural cooperation, and upgrade their bilateral cooperation by taking more effective actions.
And thirdly, with the slowdown of the world economy and rising instability, China and ASEAN countries still face many uncertainties about bilateral cooperation and regional international situations, especially with the ongoing China-U.S. trade war. China and ASEAN countries should face up to the challenges in cooperation and strengthen consensus in dealing with regional and international affair to ensure a cooperative environment and enhance the strategic significance of China-ASEAN relations.
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