Wang Yi stresses anti-COVID-19 and economic cooperation at ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting
Updated 11:34, 10-Sep-2020

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed regional anti-COVID-19 and economic cooperation to foreign ministers on Wednesday as the 53rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting and related meetings opened via video link under the chair of Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh.

Attending the ASEAN foreign ministers' meetings, Wang stressed that China is willing to work with ASEAN countries in advancing post-COVID-19 cooperation under the new normalcy of controlling the pandemic, jointly addressing challenges, and building a more closely related community of shared destiny.

He pointed out that China has achieved great success in controlling the pandemic developing the economy, becoming the world's first major economy in recovery.

To boost its economy so as to help the world economy recover, China will create a new development pattern whereby domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay while further opening up to the world, the Chinese foreign minister said.

This development mode will first of all benefit countries that include ASEAN countries, and bring new opportunities and momentum to bilateral cooperation, Wang said.

For all the areas of cooperation listed, Wang highlighted joint anti-COVID-19 efforts with an emphasis on sharing information on vaccine production, research, development, and utilization and a joint public health emergency mechanism.

In addition, Wang said, China will also consider expanding the coverage of "fast lane" and facilitate the signing comprehensive economic partnership agreement between the two sides to promote regional economic recovery.

The ASEAN foreign ministers echoed Wang's remarks on the China-ASEAN cooperation, saying that the two sides have become strategic partners with integrated interest and noting that China is the first partner to discuss anti-epidemic cooperation with the ASEAN.

The ASEAN countries also expressed willingness to cooperate with China's proposed global data security initiative so as to strengthen global cybersecurity. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi(L) attends the 21th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers' Meeting, September 9. /Chinese Foreign Ministry

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi(L) attends the 21th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers' Meeting, September 9. /Chinese Foreign Ministry

On the same day, at the 21st foreign ministers' meeting of ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea), Wang said that the cooperation among countries of ASEAN Plus Three has made the East Asia region ahead of other places in controlling the pandemic and recovering the economy.

He said that the positive trend should be kept as the world's pandemic hasn't seen an end yet.

To step up the regional cooperation, Wang said, the Chinese side proposes to promote regional cooperation in the COVID-19 vaccine, together making contributions to its availability and affordability.

In addition, he said, a network of "fast lane" and "green channel" should also be built to speed up the resumption of work and production.

The foreign ministers of Japan, ROK, and ASEAN countries have spoken highly of the great achievements of regional cooperation and said that they should deepen their cooperation in areas including public health, trade, and investment, food security and tourism, etc.

The event is being held from Wednesday to Saturday, with some 40 documents expected to be issued and adopted at several meetings held via video link, according to the organizers.

Founded in 1967, the ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Vietnam is the ASEAN chair for 2020. 


The opening ceremony

Delivering a speech at the opening ceremony Wednesday morning, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the development of the ASEAN, noting that initiatives including the COVID-19 Response Fund, the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, and an ASEAN comprehensive recovery plan have not only assisted in the joint response to COVID-19 but also strengthened the bonds among ASEAN members.

Phuc urged the ASEAN members to continue upholding the bloc's solidarity and unity and called for efforts to control COVID-19 and promote sustained recovery, aptly utilizing the COVID-19 Response Fund and operationalizing the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies.

He also said the members need to promptly help with the resumption of production and the return to normalcy, besides facilitating trade and investment, fixing the disrupted supply chain, enhancing connectivity, and bridging the developmental gaps between the ASEAN subregions.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Pham Binh Minh said specific measures to effectively implement the instructions of the ASEAN leaders at the 36th ASEAN Summit would be discussed at the four-day event.

Representatives will also exchange views on how to further promote regional cooperation and integration, overcome challenges and difficulties to successfully achieve the set targets, and map out the way forward, he said. 

At the meetings with ASEAN's dialogue partners, attendees will deliberate on issues relating to the forums' future and continue to broaden and deepen cooperation within the China-ASEAN and ASEAN Plus Three frameworks to maximize these platforms' roles in the new circumstances, he said. 

(With input from Xinhua)