ASEAN ties celebrated at 14th CAEXPO
Source: ChinaDaily Time:2017-09-26 09:37:22
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is of great importance to the Belt and Road Initiative and China will continue building closer relations with the region, Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli told the opening ceremony of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo on 12th Sep.
Under its theme "Jointly Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Promoting Regional Economic Integration Through Tourism", the expo runs from September 12-15 in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Brunei is this year's country of honor and Kazakhstan is the special partner at the expo.
In his speech, Zhang spoke highly of the achievements that China and ASEAN have made in recent years.
He said the two sides signed agreements on intergovernmental cooperation during the Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation this May.
From January to July this year, trade volumes between China and ASEAN increased 14.5 percent year-on-year, making China ASEAN's biggest trade partner for eight consecutive years.
Also in 2016, more than 38 million people traveled between the two sides.
Zhang said the fruitful results of cooperation have proven that the Belt and Road Initiative meets the development needs of China and ASEAN countries, serves the shared interests of relevant parties and is in line with the trend of regional and global cooperation.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN, and China has always regarded ASEAN as a priority in its neighboring diplomacy, as well as a focus in the Belt and Road Initiative, Zhang said.
He proposed building a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, and writing a new chapter in building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Zhang suggested that both sides deepen their political mutual trust, for stronger synergy in developmental strategies.
China and ASEAN should formulate the 2030 vision, agreed in May, for a strategic partnership to make a blueprint for future cooperation. They should work to enhance the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with ASEAN's regional development strategies.
He said China and ASEAN countries should deepen their cooperation on industrial capacity.
The two sides were encouraged to deepen economic relations.
Zhang said China was willing to work with ASEAN to implement cooperation initiatives for trade facilitation under the Belt and Road Initiative, expand imports from ASEAN countries, and promote the construction of cross-border economic cooperation parks.
China and ASEAN also needed to strengthen links to accelerate the construction of regional infrastructure, deepen cooperation in innovation to boost economic development, as well as encourage more people-to-people exchanges, according to Zhang.
Brunei's Sultan, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, delivered a speech marking China's contribution to ASEAN as well as global economic growth.
He said it was necessary to explore closer collaboration between ASEAN's 2025 Vision and the Belt and Road Initiative.
Bolkiah hoped to promote mutual communications and connectivity by tourism, since 2017 is the year of tourism.
He also noted that 2018 is the year of innovation for China-ASEAN and wished for the promotion of closer ties through innovation.
Samdech Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia, said in his speech that the expo has great significance for promoting regional integration and will make ASEAN and even Asia an attractive and competitive region.
Tourism between China and ASEAN, he said, further promotes the process of regional integration and connectivity.
He believed that strengthening tourism cooperation would certainly boost the development of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
The China-ASEAN Expo is an international economic and trade event jointly endorsed by the leaders of China and ASEAN.
Proposed by the Chinese government, the first expo was held in Nanning in November 2004, and since then Nanning has becomes the permanent host city.