Commentary: China, ASEAN determined to forge closer community with shared future

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-06 12:26:12|Editor: huaxia
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by Xinhua writers Dan Ran, Lin Hao

BANGKOK, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- One year ago, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted the landmark China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, a key document aiming to chart the course for their ties over the coming decade and a display of their sturdy commitment to forging a community with a shared future.

This commitment has been vividly demonstrated in the ASEAN summitry and related gatherings held in Bangkok in the past few days. As Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha puts it, the China-ASEAN partnership is one of the most dynamic partnerships that the bloc has with a dialogue partner.

Economic and trade links between the two sides have never been stronger. China has remained ASEAN's top trading partner for 10 years and ASEAN is now China's second largest trading partner, with two-way trade topping 587.8 billion U.S. dollars and mutual investment exceeding 200 billion dollars in 2018.

Flourishing trade relations bear particular significance for a world afflicted with rising trade protectionism and growing uncertainties, and testify to China and ASEAN's firm resolve to build an open world economy and uphold a multilateral trading system.

With the upgraded protocol of the bilateral free trade area coming into effect last month, China and ASEAN are better armed to boost trade and investment and inject new impetus for regional growth. The ongoing second China International Import Expo is also expected to help more ASEAN products find their way into Chinese markets.

A crucial breakthrough in negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a mega regional trade agreement, has also reaffirmed the Asia Pacific's strong support for free trade and multilateralism.

Common prosperity always comes with opening doors. China and ASEAN took a fresh stride to facilitate all-round connectivity at this year's ASEAN-China summit by synergizing the Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

Over the years, both China and ASEAN countries have also demonstrated resolve and wisdom to seek common ground while properly manage their differences, including those over the South China Sea issue.

With the goal to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, stability and prosperity, China and ASEAN countries have joined hands to work towards a comprehensive and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and push forward consultations on the widely-anticipated Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

In less than a year, the first reading of the single draft negotiating text of the COC has been completed ahead of schedule, and the second reading has been launched. China has made the proposal to conclude the COC talks in three years' time, demonstrating its greatest sincerity and goodwill to advance the consultations.

The improved situation in the South China Sea has paved the way for greater maritime cooperation. China and ASEAN countries have made themselves heard loud and clear that they are fully capable of settling disputes, formulating regional rules and safeguarding regional peace and prosperity despite interference from some outsiders.

The history of China-ASEAN cooperation has shown that as long as the two sides can hold their hands and work side by side, they will ultimately realize their goal of building a closer community with a shared future, and further boost pan-East Asia cooperation that can bring more real benefits to the people in the region.