November 23, 2022
JAKARTA – From Nov. 14 to 19, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the 17th Group of 20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, and the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok.
This is the first time the top Chinese leader attended multilateral events after the triumphant convening of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, fully reflecting the great importance China attaches to its relations with Indonesia, Thailand and ASEAN.
From Bali to Bangkok, President Xi participated in more than 30 bilateral and multilateral events and put forward a series of major initiatives and practical cooperation measures. China and regional countries including ASEAN, have made Asian voices heard and contributed Asian wisdom to regional and global governance, together bringing a wonderful “Asian moment.”
Amid accelerated global changes and a lingering pandemic and with the world economy on a downward trajectory, global development is now beset by new challenges.
The G20, as the main forum for international economic cooperation, shoulders a great responsibility. President Xi called on all countries to embrace the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, make global development more inclusive, beneficial to all and more resilient, so as to jointly address questions of the time, tide over difficulties and create a better future together.
President Xi stated that prosperity and stability could not be possible in a world where the rich become richer while the poor are made poorer. Modernization is not a privilege reserved for any single country. Frontrunners in development should sincerely help others develop.
President Xi also proposed building a global partnership for economic recovery and the International Cooperation Initiative on Global Food Security and explicitly supported the African Union (AU) in joining the G20.
At this major forum for international economic cooperation, President Xi focused on the major theme of development, reflecting the common aspirations of the international community including ASEAN countries as well as peoples of all nations and demonstrating China’s role as a great power in leading global cooperation in the right direction.
China proposed the Global Development Initiative (GDI) to join hands with other countries to focus on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are pleased to see ASEAN countries respond positively to this initiative and support the synergy between the GDI and relevant ASEAN initiatives. In the future, China and ASEAN will certainly lead and set an example of common global development.
APEC is the most important platform for economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. President Xi emphasized at the APEC forum that over the past decades, robust economic cooperation in the region has created the “Asia-Pacific miracle” admired across the world. Asia-Pacific cooperation has taken deep roots in the hearts of the people.
Today, the world has come to another historical crossroads and this has made the Asia-Pacific region even more important and prominent in its standing and role.
President Xi took stock of the experience and inspiration of the “Asia-Pacific miracle” and put forward the important idea of building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future that enjoys peace, stability and prosperity for all, that is clean and beautiful and where all are ready to help each other, pointing out the direction and path for the future development of the region.
China has worked with ASEAN to promote the signing and entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). China and ASEAN, both in the Asia-Pacific region, are all practitioners and promoters of economic integration in the region.
We believe that with the joint efforts of both sides, the Asia-Pacific region will continue to be the fastest growing and most vibrant region in the world, further driving the world economy forward.
President Xi stressed that ASEAN is a priority in China’s neighborhood diplomacy and that China is willing to work with Indonesia, Thailand and other ASEAN countries to focus on development and cooperation and promote the building of the “five homes.” China, together with Indonesia and Thailand respectively, has reaffirmed its commitment to building a community with a shared future and strengthening the synergy between development strategies.
China and Indonesia signed the new five-year Plan of Action for Strengthening of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. China and Thailand signed a joint action plan for strategic cooperation. A new pattern of high-level cooperation has been built.
This will undoubtedly set good examples for the course of building a community with a shared future between China and ASEAN, as well as between China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and gather broader international forces for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Over the past three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade between China and ASEAN has grown against the odds. We have become each other’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade reaching US$798.4 billion in the first 10 months of 2022, up by 13.8 percent year-on-year. We have jointly announced the official launch of negotiations on a new round of upgrade of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, which will further enhance the quality and level of trade and investment cooperation between the two sides.
The opening of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has taken Cambodia into a “high-speed era.” With the China-Laos Railway, the Laos dream of becoming a land-linked country has come true.
The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway, the first of its kind across ASEAN, has begun its trial operation. The construction of the China-Laos-Thailand Railway and the Malaysia East Coast Rail Link is gaining traction. The China-Malaysia and China-Indonesia “Two Countries, Twin Parks” have grown bigger and stronger. High-quality Belt and Road cooperation has made more and more iconic achievements.
Looking ahead, China and ASEAN should continue to enhance friendship, mutual trust and integration of interests, work together to promote sustainable development, move toward modernization, build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home, continue to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership and continue to draw new chapters in building a China-ASEAN community with a shared future.
The author is the Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN.