On the evening of November 8, 2020, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with diplomatic envoys of ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Beijing.
Wang Yi said it is a good tradition over the years that Chinese Foreign Ministers hold annual exchanges with the ambassadors of the 10 ASEAN countries. Since the beginning of this year, China and ASEAN countries have maintained close exchanges and cooperation despite the impact of the COVID-19. At present, the international situation is in a turbulent period of change, with many uncertainties and destabilizing factors. China and ASEAN, as important forces in the region, should strengthen our confidence and solidarity to make joint efforts to inject more positive energy into regional stability and prosperity. China is willing to continue to work with ASEAN countries to fight against the COVID-19, give priority to vaccine cooperation with ASEAN countries, and strive for final victory at an early date. The two sides should firmly uphold multilateralism and free trade, vigorously take regional economic integration forward, and establish the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as scheduled. While pursuing dialogue, properly handling differences and removing interference, the two sides should actively carry out practical maritime cooperation, steadily push forward the consultations of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea area. China firmly supports the building of the ASEAN community and ASEAN centrality, and is ready to work with ASEAN countries to achieve positive results at the upcoming China-ASEAN leaders' meeting on cooperation, especially the China-ASEAN Summit, so as to make plans for improving the quality and upgrading of the bilateral relations.
Wang Yi introduced the proposal adopted at the fifth plenary session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on formulating the 14th Five-year Plan for China's economic and social development and the long-range 2035 goals. Wang Yi said it is an inevitable trend and objective law for China's economic growth to accelerate the construction of a new development pattern. The fact that China overcame the impact of the COVID-19 and held the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on schedule fully demonstrates China's unwavering resolve on further opening up to the outside world and its sincere willingness to share market opportunities with the world. The International Import Expo is getting better and China's domestic market is growing bigger, which will provide more opportunities for the economic growth of countries including ASEAN, and add more impetus to world economic recovery.
The envoys of the 10 ASEAN countries commented positively on the development of ASEAN-China relations in various fields, and expressed that since the beginning of this year, ASEAN countries and China have fully demonstrated the spirit of solidarity, supported each other and overcome difficulties in the face of the COVID-19. The two sides have become each other's largest trading partner, which shows the strong vitality and huge potential of ASEAN-China relations. The envoys thanked China for overcoming the impact of the epidemic and hosting the International Import Expo on schedule this year, which provides a "golden opportunity" for countries including ASEAN countries, and believed that China's future development will make greater contribution to the prosperity and growth of ASEAN and other countries in the world. The ASEAN side thanks China for its long-standing support for ASEAN's leading role in regional cooperation, and hopes to better align development strategies, jointly build the Belt and Road, promote regional connectivity, strengthen cooperation in the fields covering digital economy, poverty alleviation, environmental protection and sustainable development, and develop closer partnership with China. The ASEAN countries are ready to make joint efforts with China to ensure the success of the leaders' meetings on East Asia Cooperation next week. ASEAN is ready to continue to work with China to advance consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region.
The two sides also exchanged views on the international situation of common concern.