Soegeng Rahardjo, Indonesian Ambassador to China, gives an exclusive interview to Xinhuanet in Beijing, Sept. 29, 2017. (Xinhuanet/Zhang Bin)
By Wang Chengcheng, Li Xia
BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Relations between ASEAN and China will play an important role to benefit all the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, said Soegeng Rahardjo, Indonesian Ambassador to China.
The ambassador made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Xinhuanet recently.
China is the largest economy in Asia-Pacific, while ASEAN the third largest, which means that partnership between the two is important, he said.
According to him, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity will complement each other in boosting inter- and intra-regional connectivity.
With good connectivity, efficient and effective cooperation, especially in economy, will be created between ASEAN and China to contribute positively to the region’s economic growth as well as the global economic recovery, he added.
Talking about China-ASEAN Free Trade Area tariff-cutting schedule, Soegeng said, trade cooperation between ASEAN and China will increase significantly with zero-tariff next year, which is "very good not only for China and ASEAN, but for other countries as well".
As trade relations further improved, ASEAN countries could learn from China about how to achieve ambition and effectiveness in producing products, he commented.
The ambassador also attached great importance to people-to-people exchanges, believing it “a strong foundation” for establishing and strengthening relations between Indonesia and China.
The exchanges have been promoted in cultural and educational areas, including inviting Chinese painters to hold exhibitions in Indonesia, encouraging Indonesian young to study in Chinese universities, promoting Indonesian tourism in China and opening new flight services linking Indonesia with more Chinese cities, he told Xinhuanet.
"This year marks the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. Next year China and ASEAN are to celebrate the 15th anniversary of strategic partnership. It is very important to develop cooperation in so many sectors such as trade, investment, education and tourism between China and ASEAN," concluded the ambassador.