Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Le Luong Minh has said the bloc should further consolidate its strategic partnership with China on a foundation of mutual respect and trust in what is the second decade of their ties.

The leader made the statement at a reception to mark the 10 th anniversary of the ASEAN-China strategic partnership on November 25 in Jakarta, Indonesia, before ambassadors and head of delegations to ASEAN from various countries, among other regional and international guests.

All differences between the two sides should be settled through dialogue and cooperation, he insisted.

Minh underscored that together with various celebratory activities, the anniversary has made 2013 a special milestone in bilateral ties, affirming the commitments made by both ASEAN and China to grasp all opportunities to broaden and deepen their cooperation.

Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Yang Xiuping said the country’s proposal to build “a community of common destiny” with ASEAN member countries in the next decade has affirmed the association’s priority position in China ’s external policies.

She added that 2014 will be defined as a year of cultural exchange between ASEAN and China .

As the representative of the ASEAN-China relations coordinator, Ambassador and Head of the Thai Delegation at ASEAN Suvat Chirapant reviewed the significant cooperation outcomes between the two sides.

He noted that 2013 was an important benchmark because the two sides signed their Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Bali and China officially joined the ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia .

Since 2009, China has become the top trade partner with ASEAN, while the latter is China ’s third largest.

Chinese direct investment to the grouping’s member countries doubled to 6 billion USD between 2010 and 2011.

As many as seven million Chinese tourists visit ASEAN member nations annually, while five million visitors from the bloc come to China.

ASEAN and China have also worked together in overcoming many challenges, including the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis and the SARS pandemic in 2003.-VNA