Yearender: The A to Z of China-ASEAN relationship

People walk out of the venue of the 18th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Sept. 13, 2021. Photo by Xinhua

Xinhua compiled a list of 26 keywords that highlight the development of China-ASEAN relations since they forged dialogue relations in 1991.

BANGKOK -- After 30 years of win-win cooperation, China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have set a fine example ofsuccessful and vibrant bilateral relations, which have come to a new starting point brimmed with new opportunities.

Established in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Xinhua compiled a list of 26 keywords that highlight the development of China-ASEAN relations since they forged dialogue relations in 1991.

A - Anniversary

The year 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN. Since 1991, the two sides have remained committed to promoting regional prosperity with comprehensive cooperation and bringing tangible benefits to people in the region.

Aerial photo taken on Nov. 21, 2021 shows a section of the China-Laos Railway on the ourskirts of Vientiane, Laos. Photo by Xinhua

B - Belt and Road Initiative

The Belt and Road cooperation between China and ASEAN continues to make headway, which promotes regional connectivity and supports economic recovery. In the latest progress, the China-Laos Railway started operation on Dec. 3, putting the landlocked Southeast Asian country on track to a land-linked hub.

C - Closer community with a shared future

Exploring a bright path of good-neighborliness and win-win cooperation, China and ASEAN have taken strides toward building a closer community with a shared future and made important contributions to the cause of human progress.

D - Digital Governance Dialogue

A China-ASEAN Digital Governance Dialogue has been proposed to deepen innovative application of digital technology.

E - Economic recovery

China and ASEAN are expanding cooperation to boost post-pandemic regional economic recovery. China vows to provide ASEAN with 1.5 billion U.S. dollars of development assistance in the next three years to support ASEAN countries' fight against COVID-19 and efforts for economic recovery.

A truck enters Dongxing Port in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Dec. 27, 2019. Photo by Xinhua

F - Free Trade Area

Thanks to the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), coming into effect in 2010, tariffs have been reduced, driving a vigorous growth in bilateral trade. The two sides plan to work toward a new round of upgrade of the China-ASEAN FTA at an early date after full implementation of an upgrading protocol of the FTA in 2019, and enhance the level of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

G - Green economy

China and ASEAN are seeking to strengthen cooperation in the green economy, striving to explore green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable development paths to achieve win-win economic development and environmental protection.

H - Health shield

China and ASEAN will build a "health shield" for the region. China vows to donate an additional 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to ASEAN countries, step up vaccine joint production and technology transfer, and collaborate on research and development of essential medicines.

I - Innovation

To boost innovation, a China-ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation Enhancing Program will be launched. Under the program, China will provide 1,000 items of advanced and applicable technology to ASEAN and support a program for 300 young scientists from ASEAN to come to China for exchanges in the next five years.

A worker transfers a batch of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines donated by China at the Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 17, 2021. Photo by Xinhua

J - Joint efforts against COVID-19

China and ASEAN support each other during the COVID-19 pandemic, like they always do in the face of challenges, forging a stronger sense of being a community with a shared future.

K - Knowledge Network for Development

China supports the establishment of a China-ASEAN Knowledge Network for Development and vows to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN on poverty reduction to promote balanced and inclusive development.

L - Lancang-Mekong Cooperation

The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, launched in 2016 by China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, has become an important sub-regional cooperation mechanism between China and ASEAN. Besides traditional areas including connectivity, industrial capacity, water resources, agriculture and poverty reduction, cooperation has extended to new fields such as digital economy, environmental protection, health and customs.

M - Managing disagreements

China and ASEAN have accommodated each other's major concerns, respected each other's development paths, properly handled disagreements on topics including the South China Sea issue through dialogue based on mutual respect and consultation, and jointly safeguarded regional peace and stability.

Durians are served at the flag-off ceremony of the first batch of Malaysian whole frozen durian to China, in Putrajaya, Malaysia, June 17, 2019. Photo by Xinhua

N - Neighbors

China and ASEAN are neighbors. With mutual assistance being their shared tradition, they look out for each other and honor the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness.

O - Openness

Drawing wisdom from East Asian civilization, China and ASEAN have steered regional economic integration with an open mind, advanced ASEAN-led regional cooperation through equal-footed consultation, and forged friendships that are open, not exclusionary, with an inclusive attitude.

P - Priority

China was, is, and will always be ASEAN's good neighbor, good friend and good partner, unswervingly taking ASEAN as a high priority in its neighborhood diplomacy.

Q - Quality product imports

China plans to import more quality products from ASEAN countries, including buying up to 150 billion dollars worth of agricultural products from ASEAN in the next five years.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and leaders of other countries attend the signing ceremony of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement after the fourth RCEP Summit, which is held via video link, Nov. 15, 2020. (Photo by Xinhua)


ASEAN and China have jointly concluded and signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the world's largest free trade agreement, together with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand in November 2020, and the 15 countries are pushing ahead with plans to implement it on Jan. 1, 2022.

S - Sustainable development

China and ASEAN have enhanced cooperation in various fields for sustainable development. China is ready to open a dialogue with ASEAN on climate response, increase policy communication and experience sharing, and synergize each other's plans for sustainable development.

T - Top trading partner

China has remained as ASEAN's top trading partner for 12 consecutive years, while ASEAN became China's largest trading partner in 2020. Bilateral trade maintained robust growth momentum, surging 29.8 percent in the first 11 months of this year.

U - Upgraded relations

China and ASEAN jointly elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in November 2021, a new milestone in their relations, which will inject new impetus into peace, stability, prosperity and development of the region and the world.

V - Vote of confidence

As a vote of confidence in China-ASEAN common development, two-way investment has seen notable progress. By the end of June 2021, the cumulative two-way investment topped 310 billion U.S. dollars.

W - Winter Olympics 2022

The Beijing Winter Olympics and the Hangzhou Asian Games, to be hosted by China in 2022, will offer good opportunities for deepening sports exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.

People select goods at the 18th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Sept. 11, 2021. (Photo by Xinhua)

X - eXpo

Inaugurated in 2004, the China-ASEAN Expo, an event held annually in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has become an important platform for promoting trade and bilateral relations between China and ASEAN.

Y - Youth

The young people represent the future of China and ASEAN. China will enhance cooperation with ASEAN in vocational education and mutual recognition of diplomas, increase the number of recipients of the China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship, and organize events like youth camps.

Z - Zero-tariff

More than 90 percent of the goods between China and ASEAN countries can be traded at zero tariff, under the China-ASEAN FTA. 

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