People’s Republic of China Keen to Deepen Cooperation with ASEAN on Several Fronts, Says Secretary-General of ASEAN
ASEAN Secretariat, 24 March 2010
Upon his return from his first official visit to China at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Dr Surin Pitsuwan said that China expressed its interest to intensify cooperation on trade, investment, tourism, infrastructure, human resource development, people-to-people interaction and business sector partnerships.
“China commits to provide a firmer foundation for long-term cooperation,” said Dr Surin.
During the official visit, the Secretary-General of ASEAN called on Premier Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Commerce Minister Chen Deming.
Dr Surin expressed appreciation for China’s understanding and willingness to work with ASEAN in the adjustments that ASEAN Member States need to make in implementing the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA). The ACFTA, which is the largest FTA in the world in terms of its market size of 1.9 billion people, came into effect on 1 January 2010. It has a combined GDP of US$ 5.8 trillion in 2008 and a total trade of US$ 4.3 trillion with the global community.
“The ACFTA should be mutually beneficial to both ASEAN and China, and all sectors must stand to benefit,’’ Dr Surin stressed.
China also arranged for Dr Surin to visit the Hubei and Jiangsu Provinces of China where he promoted the opportunities for the provinces to trade with and invest in ASEAN, and promote two-way tourism.
“ASEAN can be on the supply chain for the various industries operating in the provinces of China,’’ said Dr Surin, who described this as a win-win situation for both sides.
The Secretary-General also emphasised that “when China grows, ASEAN grows with it and when ASEAN prospers, China also benefits.”
During his stay at the Chinese capital, Dr Surin met the ASEAN Committee in Beijing (ACB), which is made up of the Ambassadors of ASEAN Member States to China, and briefed them on the developments in ASEAN and exchanged views on ASEAN-China cooperation. Dr Surin also delivered lectures on ASEAN and East Asia cooperation at the Wuhan University in Hubei Province and at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.