The formation of the ASEAN Community will be a significant driver of the economic integration process in Asia, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said on March 28.

He made the remark at a session titled “ASEAN Community: A major milestone for Asian integration” on March 28, part of Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2015 held from March 26 to 29 in Boao, China.

Wang stressed that China supports and believes that the ASEAN Community will be formed by the end of this year based on the principles of unity, equity and all-win, and it will uphold its key role in driving East Asia cooperation.

He noted that trade between China and the ASEAN hit 480 billion USD while two way investment reached 120 billion USD last year, marking the fifth consecutive year China had been ASEAN’s biggest trading partner and the fourth consecutive year the association had remained as China’s third largest trade partner. .

The FM also cited figures showing that 18 million people travel between China and ASEAN countries annually with over 1,000 flights between the two sides each week.

Besides, both sides look to step up the upgrading of the China – ASEAN Free Trade Area and the negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2015 with a desire to push their trade volume up to 1,000 billion USD in 2020, he said.

Also at the session, former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Haji Ahmad Badawi stated that the ASEAN Community formation will transform the region into the world’s fourth largest economy.

He said that the ASEAN has proposed to set up a pilot zone for trade and transportation facilitation and a peacekeeping force to maintain stability in East Sea.-VNA