See More on Facebook


Asean Summit: China committed to supporting Asean centrality, says Li Keqiang

China is facing off against several ASEAN members over the South China Sea.

Written by

Updated: November 4, 2019

China will stay firmly committed to supporting Asean centrality in East Asian cooperation, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told regional leaders on Sunday morning (Nov 3).

He noted that the international and regional situation is complex and changing. Given this context, cooperation between Asean and China is “built on a stable structure and moving forward in a positive fashion”, Mr Li said.

“We have strengthened political mutual trust. We both support stability in the region,” he told leaders at the Asean-China Summit in Thailand.

“And by doing so, we have been able to cope with the instability in other parts of the world.”

Mr Li also highlighted progress made on drawing up a code of conduct for the South China Sea, which has been the subject of competing territorial claims.

The first reading of the Single Draft Negotiating Text for the Code of Conduct (COC) was completed earlier this year – a “very important landmark” for countries involved, he added.

“We stand ready to work with Asean countries, building on the existing foundation and basis to strive for new progress in the COC, according to the three year time frame, so as to maintain and uphold long term peace in the South China Sea,” Mr Li said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who also spoke at the summit, welcomed the latest developments on the COC. He urged negotiators to continue making progress “in the spirit of collaboration and good faith in subsequent readings, as we deal with the more complex and difficult issues”.

Singapore will work towards establishing a code of conduct that is in accordance with international law, he added.

The prime minister also welcomed China’s proposal to conclude the COC in three years. “But it is even more important to get the outcomes right, and to have an effective and substantive COC.”

PM Lee added that there is still room for further economic cooperation between Asean and China, especially given the global economic slowdown. China has been Asean’s largest trading partner for the past 10 years, while Asean is now China’s second-largest trading partner.

Among other things, he said it is imperative that the Asean-China Free Trade Area Upgrade Protocol be fully implemented. He added that both parties can also strengthen connectivity through efforts such as working towards fully liberalising the Asean-China Air Transport Agreement.

At the summit, leaders adopted statements to synergise the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity 2025 with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, strengthen media cooperation, as well as to cooperate on smart city projects.

PM Lee urged leaders to identify and pursue fresh areas for collaboration, holding up smart cities as one such area.

“City-to-city collaboration through the Asean Smart Cities Network will further integrate our economies and unlock the potential of the digital economy,” he said.

In his speech, Mr Li noted that ties have deepened between people on both sides.

“We are each other’s major tourist destinations,” he said. “And we can expect even more booming people-to-people exchanges in the coming years.”

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


Thai students lead protests calling for political change

Wave of flash mobs triggered by court verdict to disband opposition party Future Forward. Making the three-finger salute, a gesture from blockbuster The Hunger Games, to signify defiance against a dictatorial regime and singing Do You Hear The People Sing? from the musical Les Miserables, a few hundred students at a prestigious high school known for academic excellence yesterday morning joined a wave of antigovernment protests across Thailand. For Triam Udom Suksa School, located in the heart of Bangkok, an organised protest led by the students themselves was a rare sight. “I have heard objections to why kids like us need to come out and protest. I want to ask them why they think kids cannot express our political opinions,” 17-year-old Napat

By The Straits Times
February 28, 2020


869,000 sign petition calling for Moon to be impeached

Even as the government goes all out to curb the spread of the virus, such as revising an infectious disease Act to fine people up to US$2,400 for refusing a virus test, and limiting the export of face masks to 10 per cent of the output, criticism of the Moon administration has grown. Close to 869,000 people in South Korea have signed a petition to impeach President Moon Jae-in over what they claim is the government’s mishandling of the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country. The number of infections continued to surge yesterday, hitting 1,261. The petition criticised Mr Moon for not banning all visitors from China, where the coronavirus originated, and for sending three million face masks to the country. Only visitors from China’s Hubei province are

By The Straits Times
February 27, 2020


S’pore, South Korea and Hong Kong rebound as other Asian markets bleed

STI gains on signs that the virus outbreak here seems to be largely contained. Markets in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea enjoyed a relief rebound yesterday even as others in Asia extended losses following a global stock rout stoked by fears that the rapid rise in new coronavirus cases outside China could further dent global growth. Tokyo led the plunge with a 3.34 per cent loss after reopening yesterday, dragged down by virus fears and the Dow’s 1,031-point plunge. Sydney shed 1.6 per cent, while Shanghai lost 0.6 per cent. But the Straits Times Index gained as much as 0.9 per cent before closing up 0.51 per cent, on signs that the outbreak here seems to be largely contained. South Korea’s hard-hit Kospi index rebounded 1.18 per

By The Straits Times
February 26, 2020


South Korea reports 231 new cases

Health official leading fight against virus in Daegu among those infected; 2 more deaths. South Korea has reported another huge spike of 231 new coronavirus cases yesterday, among them a health official leading the battle against the virus in the south-eastern city of Daegu, who has admitted he is a member of the secretive church linked to more than half of the country’s infections. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 833 as of yesterday, with 14 in critical condition. The country also reported two more deaths, raising the tally to eight, while 22 people have made a full recovery. South Korean stocks tumbled 4 per cent yesterday over virus woes, as the central bank urged continued efforts to minimise the fallout from the outbreak.

By The Straits Times
February 25, 2020


South Korea’s key industries hit hard by Covid-19

South Korea’s major industries – including electronics, automobiles, retail and oil refining – are on high alert due to a surge in Covid-19 cases here, as well as the market slowdown in China, the nation’s biggest export destination. As of Monday morning, the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients stood at 763, up 161 from the previous day, and the death toll had risen to eight. The nation’s largest tech firm, Samsung Electronics, temporarily shut down its operations at its Gumi plants on Saturday after one of its employees was confirmed to be infected. The Gumi site produces next-generation smartphones such as the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Fold. The plant resumed operations Monday afternoon after taking quarantine measures. Another chipm

By Asia News Network
February 24, 2020


China confident of virus battle victory

 Xi thanks Pakistani, ROK leaders for support, donations in phone talks. China is capable of winning the battle against the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, which cannot undermine the foundation of China’s long-term development, President Xi Jinping said on Thursday. Xi made the remark in telephone conversations with Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, and Moon Jae-in, president of the Republic of Korea. In the phone call with Khan, Xi said that the top priority of the Chinese government is to fight the disease, and the situation has developed in a positive direction thanks to the great efforts made by medical workers and people across the nation. China is confident of winning the battle against the disease, and it will minimize the e

By China Daily
February 21, 2020