The 7th Conference on ASEAN-China People-to-People Friendship Organisations opened in Hanoi on August 16, with the participation of high-ranking Vietnamese officials and representatives from ASEAN member countries' friendship associations with China.

Addressing the event, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan stated that the forum is one of the most effective and dynamic between ASEAN and the grouping’s partners.

Strengthening ASEAN-Chinese relations is not only beneficial to peace and prosperity in Southeast Asia , also contributing to peace, stability and development of countries in the region, he noted.

According to Nhan, since its membership in 1995, Vietnam has always been an active and responsible member of the association and has been successful in the role of coordinator for the ASEAN-China relationship during the 2009-2012 period.Vietnam will continue working with other ASEAN countries and China to foster friendship and cooperation between both sides in all fields.

Delivering a speech at the two-day conference, themed "Solidarity, Friendship, Cooperation and Development", President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and head of the Vietnamese delegation, Vu Xuan Hong, believed that the forum was an excellent opportunity for participants to exchange experience and strengthen bilateral or multilateral people to people friendships.

He stated that the Vietnam-China Friendship Association and the Vietnam-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation Association will jointly organise more people to people exchanges, contributing to build a strong, united and closely-connected ASEAN community.

Gu Xiulian, president of the China-ASEAN Association, and head of the Chinese delegation to the conference, stressed that in its external policies, China attaches importance to developing relations with neighboring countries, including ASEAN nations.

In the new development stage, the China-ASEAN Association will join hands with countries’ friendship organisations in building a harmonious, peaceful and stable Asia for mutual development, and raising the friendship and cooperation between China and ASEAN to a new level, she said.

The first conference of ASEAN-China People to People Friendship Organisations was held in Beijing in May 2006.-VNA