ASEAN leaders posed together with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (fifth from left) at the 21st ASEAN-China Summit held in Singapore on November 14 (Photo: VNA)
 
Singapore (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he supports the efforts of China and ASEAN in developing their foundation of connectivity in terms of mutual trust, physical connection, and human connection.

PM Phuc made the statement at the 21st ASEAN-China Summit held in Singapore on November 14, as part of the 33rd ASEAN Summit framework. The event also celebrated 15 years of strategic partnership between the two sides.

Highlighting the importance and huge benefits of the partnership for both parties involved and for peace, stability, and cooperation in the region, Phuc agreed that ASEAN and China should increase dialogue efforts and collaboration, as well as build mutual trust and uphold international law, contributing to the formation of codes of conduct for an open, transparent, and rule-based regional structure.

The Vietnamese Government leader said the East Sea issue remains complex, causing concern for all sides involved and possible negative impacts on regional stability.

He underscored that ASEAN and China should continue upholding the principles they had agreed upon, which involve boosting dialogues; building mutual trust; respecting international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in the peaceful settlement of disputes; avoiding the militarisation or complication of the situation; developing an effective and substantive code of conduct (COC); and fully and seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

At the summit, ASEAN and Chinese leaders reiterated the importance of their partnership and acknowledged the strong growth of their ties based on mutual trust, understanding, and respect.

China has been ASEAN’s biggest trade partner and the bloc’s top foreign investor for years. Their dialogues at all levels have been held regularly, while bilateral cooperation has been deepened across politics-security, economy, socio-culture, and people-to-people exchange.

The leaders lauded positive outcomes achieved in the ASEAN-China Year of Innovation 2018 and agreed to work together for an effective ASEAN-China Media Exchange Year 2019.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang took note of ASEAN’s international role and position, highlighting that the positive results of cooperation between the bloc and China have laid solid grounds for the partnership’s expansion.

He affirmed that their principles have encouraged mutual respect for shared benefits and the boosting of win-win cooperation.

Li said both sides should strive for stronger economy-trade-investment connection toward the goals of 1 trillion USD in bilateral trade and 150 billion USD in foreign direct investment in 2020. He urged the sides to focus on upgrading and effectively implementing the ASEAN-China free trade agreement and to support a multilateral trade system of openness, transparency, and rule of law.

China announced its plan to add an additional 10 million USD to the ASEAN-China cooperation fund and invite 1,000 ASEAN youths to visit China.

Li also stated that China will continue working with ASEAN in completing the COC within the next three years and in fully implementing the DOC, contributing to peace, stability, safe and free navigation and flyover, and free trade in the East Sea. –VNA