Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
At the 26th China-ASEAN Summit
Jakarta, September 6, 2023
Your Excellency President Joko Widodo,
It is my great pleasure to gather with you in Jakarta. I wish to thank President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian government for the meticulous preparations and thoughtful arrangements made for the meeting. I welcome Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão of Timor-Leste to the meeting as ASEAN observer, and look forward to in-depth exchanges with friends both old and new.
In 2013, it was also in Indonesia that President Xi Jinping proposed building a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. Over the past ten years, China and ASEAN have forged ahead hand in hand and contributed to each other’s successes. Facing great changes unseen in a century, we have embarked on a right path featuring longstanding good-neighborliness and shared progress and prosperity. China has remained the world’s second biggest economy, and ASEAN’s combined GDP has become the fifth largest in the world. Our joint efforts are fully reflected in the following four areas:
First, we have been committed to treating each other with sincerity, and our political mutual trust has grown deeper. Sincerity is the key that opens the heart, and trust is the bridge that connects the minds. No matter how the international situation evolves, China and ASEAN have maintained close exchanges, respected each other’s development paths and accommodated each other’s major concerns. China was the first country to establish a strategic partnership with ASEAN, and took the lead to elevate the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2021, a strong testament to the strategic trust between our two sides. China has reached important consensus separately with six ASEAN countries on building a community with a shared future, and hopes to do so with more countries in the future.
Second, we have been committed to mutual assistance, and our good-neighborly friendship has become stronger. China and ASEAN countries enjoy geographical proximity and close affinity. We have adhered to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the purpose of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). We seek common ground while setting aside differences, properly handle disagreements through dialogue and consultation, and consistently deepen practical cooperation in the traditional and non-traditional security fields. We have preserved peace and tranquility in East Asia in a world fraught with turbulence and change. In particular, we confronted the COVID-19 challenge by coming to each other’s aid in those difficult times, a reflection of our brotherly ties in face of adversity with concrete actions.
Third, we have been committed to mutual benefit, and our win-win cooperation has been more productive. China and ASEAN see each other’s development as important opportunities, and have kept markets open to each other. Last year, our two-way trade reached over USD 970 billion, more than doubling the volume a decade ago. We have been each other’s top trading partners for three years running. In 2021, at the Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations, President Xi Jinping said that China will buy up to USD 150 billion worth of agricultural products from ASEAN in the next five years. To date, over USD 55 billion worth of these products have been imported, faster than expected. We have reached full consensus on regional connectivity, delivered a steady stream of signature outcomes in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and made solid progress in building the new International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. All this has brought new development opportunities for both sides.
Fourth, we have been committed to coordination and inclusiveness, and our common development has become more sustainable. Both Chinese and Southeast Asian cultures value harmony between man and nature. Following the philosophy of green, low-carbon and sustainable development, we have fostered new cooperation highlights in climate action, environmental protection, energy transition and poverty reduction. The China-ASEAN Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation was held in the past two consecutive years. China’s Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 echo and reinforce each other, and the GDI has been widely recognized and welcomed by ASEAN countries.
Our cooperation has come a long way. The key reason is that we both have a keen understanding about hardships, a relentless pursuit of peace, a strong aspiration for development, and take real actions to preserve regional stability. Whatever storm may come, as long as we keep to the right path, China-ASEAN cooperation will be as firm as ever and press ahead against all odds, and we each will achieve greater development and progress in the course of such cooperation.
The global economic recovery is yet to take hold; global trade and investment remain sluggish; and economic growth in various countries is under considerable pressure. This year’s theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth” demonstrates a sense of confidence and responsibility. We need to expand consensus for cooperation, enhance the synergy of our development strategies, and pursue a higher level of economic integration and interconnected development. These efforts will provide greater momentum to building a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future and bring more certainty and positive energy to the peace, stability and sustained prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. To be specific, I suggest that we work together to:
First, jointly build an epicentrum of growth. Market is a rare resource in today’s world. China and ASEAN have a combined population of over two billion. If we could work together to develop and preserve this super-sized market, we would unlock enormous potential for economic growth. We need to enhance connectivity, deepen cooperation on industrial and supply chains, strive to complete in 2024 the negotiations on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) 3.0, and steadily advance regional economic integration. China will promote mutually beneficial cooperation between the Belt and Road Initiative and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), and welcome the active participation of ASEAN countries in the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. China supports the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Hainan Free Trade Port in leveraging their unique locations and policy incentives to open new growth areas of cooperation with ASEAN. We will work with ASEAN to make the 20th China-ASEAN Expo a success.
Second, jointly pursue cooperation in emerging industries. A new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is gaining steam, and leading to profound adjustments in the global innovation landscape and economic structure. China will work with ASEAN countries to seize the opportunities of transformation, strengthen cooperation on science, technology and innovation, and accelerate the upgrade of traditional industries and development of emerging industries to release greater dynamism for innovation and foster new growth drivers and competitive edge. China will provide at least USD 10 million by 2025 to support the implementation of the Joint Initiative on Advancing the China-ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation Enhancing Program to be released at this summit. China hopes to launch a ministerial dialogue on industry with ASEAN, and step up our cooperation on new energy vehicles and photovoltaics. China will continue to hold the Artificial Intelligence Cooperation Forum and will ensure the success of the first China-ASEAN Clean Energy Week. We welcome the active participation of ASEAN countries in these events.
Third, jointly safeguard regional peace and tranquility. For China and ASEAN to achieve greater development, we need to, first and foremost, safeguard peace in our region and create a favorable environment for development. China hopes to work with ASEAN to facilitate the implementation of the Global Security Initiative (GSI), keep our development and cooperation away from the erosion and impact of a new Cold War or zero-sum mentality, and meet the various traditional and non-traditional security challenges with combined efforts. China remains steadfast in pursuing peaceful development and is ready to work actively with ASEAN countries to advance the text-based COC consultations, to provide institutional safeguard for making the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. China supports the implementation of the China-ASEAN Work Plan on Cooperation in the Field of Non-Traditional Security Issues (2024—2028) and cooperation in fighting telecom and cyber fraud and illegal online gambling.
Fourth, jointly expand people-to-people exchanges. China hopes to work with ASEAN to further cement the public support for our relations and implement the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI). We can take the China-ASEAN Year of People-to-People Exchanges next year as an opportunity to further increase exchanges in culture, tourism, training and among the youth to deepen our cultural and people-to-people bonds. In the coming three years, China will build 10 China-ASEAN Institutes of Modern Craftsmanship in ASEAN countries, continue to run the “Bridge of the Future” Young Leaders Training Campus, and launch the “Plan of Training for 10,000” to train for ASEAN countries 10,000 professionals in governance, anti-corruption and green development.
As a Chinese saying goes, “One needs good companions to travel with and good neighbors to live with.” China and ASEAN are good neighbors, good brothers and good partners, and will remain so no matter what. Upholding unity for strength and the spirit of win-win cooperation, China will work with ASEAN countries to set the pace for modernization in Asia and build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home that we share together.