MANILA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said the relationship between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is moving on "a positive trajectory."
"ASEAN-China relations are in a positive direction, a positive trajectory," Balakrishnan said in a speech during the ASEAN-China ministerial meeting on Sunday. His statement was released to the media on Monday.
Team-up between ASEAN and China hinged on "strong trade and economic ties," Balakrishnan said, citing that the relationship was "substantive, multifaceted and mutually-beneficial."
"And this year the relationship is growing from strength to strength with each passing year," he said.
He said China is ASEAN's largest trading partner in the last seven years and the two have committed themselves to the twin goals of hitting 1-trillion-U.S. dollar trade and 150-billion-U.S. dollar investment by 2020.
"ASEAN and China continue to embrace a multilateral and free trade global economic system. And given the state of the world today, I think the fact that ASEAN and China still remain totally committed to free trade and closer economic integration is noteworthy," he said.
Moreover, he said that both sides were looking for new areas of cooperation, such as greater synergy between ASEAN's master plan for ASEAN connectivity and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.