Summit highlights ASEAN Plus Three cooperation in building East Asia community hinh anh 1Heads of delegations attend the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Summit, held via videoconference on October 27 (Photo: VNA)
Jakarta (VNA) – The Chairman’s statement of the 24th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit, held virtually on October 27, underscored the importance of the APT in East Asia cooperation towards the long-term goal of building an East Asia community, with ASEAN as the driving force.

The summit gathered ASEAN member states and the partner countries of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

The statement acknowledged the significance of the APT in maintaining and enhancing peace, security, stability and development in East Asia. It reaffirmed the commitment to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in combatting transnational crimes and addressing non-traditional security issues.

ASEAN reiterated the value of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) as a guide for ASEAN’s engagement in the wider Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, and encouraged the enhancement and promotion of APT cooperation in ASEAN priority areas identified in the AOIP, namely maritime cooperation, connectivity, sustainable development, economic and other areas of cooperation to further promote mutual trust, mutual respect, and confidence as well as to contribute to peace and prosperity in the region.

The summit reaffirmed the crucial role of APT cooperation in combating the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and mitigating its socio-economic impacts, acknowledged the support and contribution of the Plus Three countries to ASEAN member states and ASEAN’s initiatives in addressing COVID-19, and emphasised the need to strengthen APT collaboration in advancing the region’s recovery from the adverse socio-economic effects of the pandemic.

The summit also underlined the importance of trade and investment ties between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries. In 2020, total trade between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries reached 875.1 billion USD, representing 32.9 percent of ASEAN’s total trade. Meanwhile, total foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from the Plus Three Countries into ASEAN were valued at 22 billion USD in 2020, accounting for 16.7 percent of total FDI inflows into the bloc.

In the statement, the leaders welcomed the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in November 2020. They noted the region’s increased reliance on the digital economy during the pandemic and stressed the need for the region to identify challenges and opportunities as the region’s economies prepare themselves for the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and to harness the latter as a tool to foster APT’s economic recovery,

They reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the priority areas of APT health cooperation while stressing the importance of cultural exchanges and people-to-people links to heighten awareness and foster intercultural understanding and ASEAN identity in the region.

Participants also reiterated the commitment to advance cooperation in promoting sustainable, inclusive and innovative development. They showed support for ASEAN’s efforts to narrow the development gap and promote sustainable and equitable development across the ASEAN Community./.