Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have pledged to further promote their strategic partnership and comprehensive cooperation in line with the principles of mutual understanding and respect as well as friendly neighbourliness.

They made the commitment at the 19th ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting in Beijing which closed on April 2. The meeting at vice foreign minister level is held annually within the framework of the ASEAN-China dialogue to review bilateral ties in all fields.

Last year, China remained ASE AN’s biggest trade partner and ASE AN became the third biggest trader of China with two-way trade reaching nearly 400 billion USD. China also poured over 100 billion USD in vestment in ASEANmember countries in 2012.

The meeting saw the two sides set a target of 500 billion USD in two-way trade by 2015.

They also underscored the importance of bilateral coordination for regional peace, security, stability and development as well as their support of ASEAN’s pivotal role in a regional architecture.

It is also agreed at the meeting that ASEAN and China will co-host a number of practical activities to mark the 10 th anniversary of the establishment of their strategic partnership which falls in 2013.

The two sides reached consensus that maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea is of significance to all countries in the region, contributing to strengthening the ASEAN-China strategic partnership.

Both ASEAN and China affirmed their commitment to fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

In particular, on the basis of the joint statement on the 10th anniversary of the DOC signing adopted at the 15 th ASEAN-China Summit in November 2012, ASE AN countries and China will maintain dialogues and consultations and jointly carry out cooperative activities within the DOC framework to consolidate mutual trust, while cooperating to wards the building and adoption of a Code of Conducts in the East Sea (COC).

ASEAN countries stressed that they are willing to soon carry out official COC negotiations with China , in order to foster mutual understanding and trust for peace, security, stability and cooperation for development in the region.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh, said Vietnam believes that China will continue its policy on peaceful development, cooperation and building trust in the region, as well as boosting the ASEAN-China strategic partnership in an effective manner.

He affirmed that Vietnam will continue coordinating and working together with other ASEAN countries and China to further enhance the strategic partnership between them.

The Vietnamese representative called on ASEAN and China to beef up cooperation on ensuring peace, stability, security and maritime safety in the East Sea , resolve territorial disputes on the basis of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The two sides should implement fully and effectively the DOC and soon start the negotiations on the building and adoption of the COC for peace, security and stability in the region, he added.-VNA