The 10th ASEAN-China senior transport officials meeting opened in the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh on Dec. 14, focusing on the ASEAN-China maritime consultation mechanism, ASEAN-China air transport agreement, and joint ASEAN-China activities for 2012.

Opening the meeting, Yang Zan, Deputy Director General of the Chinese Transport Ministry's International Cooperation Department, said this year marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of cooperative transport relations between China and ASEAN.

“In the past decade, both sides have conducted a series of pragmatic cooperative activities, which has greatly enhanced infrastructure connectivity and transport facilitation by air, sea and land,” Yang Zan said.

He recalled that at the recently concluded 14th China-ASEAN Summit held in Bali, Indonesia, leaders of both sides agreed to establish a China-ASEAN committee on connectivity cooperation and that China will provide an additional 10 billion USD loans to promote land transport connectivity between China and the ASEAN countries.

They also attached great importance to building a network of maritime connectivity between China and ASEAN countries and proposed to take active steps to open shipping routes for frozen goods vessels and container ships and to facilitate passenger and cargo transport by sea.

Yang Zan said China will establish a China-ASEAN cooperative maritime fund worth 3 billion CNY (471 million USD) to expand maritime cooperation, including marine research and environmental protection, connectivity, navigation safety, search and rescue and combating transnational crime.

Leng Thun Vuthea, Under-Secretary of State at Cambodia 's Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said the relationship between ASEAN and China in the transport sector has been evolving and has now reached a high level of maturity and understanding.

“ China plays a significant role in active participation and cooperation in ASEAN, particularly in focused areas such as transport infrastructure and connectivity that could enhance international and cross-border transportation and facilitation in key ASEAN-China transport corridors,” he said.

However, he highlighted the need to speed up sustainable and comprehensive cooperation in the transport sector for mutual benefit and trust, which will contribute to the socio-economic development of the Southeast Asian nations.

The 10th ASEAN and China senior transport officials meeting was a preparatory meeting ahead of the 10th ASEAN-China Transport Ministers’ Meeting, which will begin on Dec. 16./.