30 years on, China-ASEAN ties become "dynamic model of cooperation": Cambodian officials, scholars

2021-11-22 11:35:08 GMT2021-11-22 19:35:08(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Three decades on, the relations between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have become the "most dynamic model of cooperation" in the region and the world, said Cambodian officials and scholars.

The ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations was held via video link on Monday morning.

Government chief spokesman Phay Siphan said since the establishment of the dialogue relations 30 years ago, China and ASEAN have moved forward hand in hand with fruitful outcomes in various fields.

"China and ASEAN have become the most dynamic model of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world," he told Xinhua. "Both sides are important forces in boosting free trade and supporting multilateralism."

Siphan said China-ASEAN relations have kept moving forward, with strategic mutual trust strengthened, all-round cooperation deepened and concrete actions taken in building a community with a shared future.

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

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said both sides have enjoyed good cooperation in regional and international organizations such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe meeting and the United Nations.

"China-ASEAN close cooperation has significantly contributed to upholding the rights and interests of developing countries, increasing mutual understanding and trust and promoting peace and stability in the region," he told Xinhua.

He said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN is still China's largest trading partner and has kept the momentum of increase.

"This is an evidence to highlight the importance of good relations between China and ASEAN, and both sides have greatly benefited from these good relations, so it is vital for them to maintain these relations and prevent any external attempts to harm their relations," Phea said.

He added that there will be more opportunities for both sides to further expand their relations in the fields of economic and trade cooperation as well as in securing the global supply chain.

"China-ASEAN relations have entered a new stage, and it is hoped that the relations will definitely move towards a community of shared future, where China and ASEAN and their peoples grow together in harmony," he said.

Chheang Vannarith, president of the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute, said ASEAN-China relationship over the past 30 years has grown from strength to strength.

"Political trust has been built and nurtured over the years, and multi-layered and multi-track dialogue and cooperation have been promoted," he told Xinhua.

Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said both sides could explore new opportunities especially in the field of digitalization of economy and trade through developing the infrastructure that enables the transformation of digitalization of the whole economy and society.

"The connectivity and transfer of technology are also areas where China and ASEAN can work together in the largest interests of their people," he said.

"The Belt and Road Initiative should remain as a driving force in building new roads, railroads, highways, bridges, ports and airports in the region that thus, connecting underdeveloped areas with big cities and towns."

Matthews noted that another area where China and ASEAN could work together is poverty alleviation, saying that China's success in poverty alleviation should be a good example for other developing countries, including Cambodia.

"The ASEAN can learn and adopt the Chinese model of poverty alleviation in the region," he said.

Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute, said strong China-ASEAN relations are fundamental to ensure peace, stability and development in the region.

"Both sides should promote the COVID-19 vaccine depoliticization, speed up the establishment of the ASEAN Plus Three Regional Reserve for Medical Supplies and Public Health Emergencies and support the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework," he said.

"China has played various crucial roles in mitigating the pandemic domestically and regionally through vaccine and medical supplies to ASEAN countries, which facilitate the process of reopening borders, resuming other economic activities and strengthening the resilience of supply chains," he said. Enditem