September 5, 2023
PHNOM PENH – ASEAN and China have agreed to increase sporting cooperation, pledging to maintain the principle of shared advantages while acting in the interests of both sides.
Ministers and delegation heads convened in Thailand’s Chiang Mai for the inaugural ASEAN Plus China (AMMS+CHINA) meeting on September 1.
“We agree on mutual support modalities for athletics, upholding the principle of mutual benefit. We encourage solidarity, especially given the current international situation and common challenges. We aim to efficiently allocate resources and manpower, addressing priorities and needs of ASEAN member states and China through diverse approaches,” said a joint press release.
Both parties welcomed the debut of the AMMS+China and shared the view that sporting competitions significantly foster people-to-people connections, a valuable aspect of the ASEAN-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
They highlighted that the mechanism was established to guide policy dialogues, promoting interplay between both sides. This approach aligns with the ASEAN work plan on the industry and the action plan to implement the joint declaration on ASEAN-China strategic partnership for peace and prosperity.
They agreed on broad priority areas under the programme, aiming for personal interchange between the two through sportsmanship that promotes appreciation of diversity, friendship, and inclusivity.
They also agreed to provide professionals with more opportunities for capacity building and skill development, including athletic management and addressing Covid-19’s impact on the sector.
Furthermore, they vowed to encourage healthy lifestyles among the peoples of both regions by enabling community-level participation across different age groups, including marginalised communities.
“We anticipate enhancing the sharing of traditional sports and athletic science, as well as encouraging local joint efforts. The ongoing conceptualisation of the ASEAN-China traditional games exchange and revitalisation as an intangible cultural heritage project by the ASEAN secretariat and UNESCO is appreciated,” the statement noted.
Both sides welcomed Timor-Leste as an observer to the gathering and looked forward to advancing cooperation towards its full ASEAN membership.
The group expressed its thanks to Thailand and China for co-chairing the inaugural session and agreed to reconvene at the second AMMS+China in 2025.