|Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Qiyue at the Forum in Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary Marking Dialogue Relations between China-ASEAN|
Your Excellency Ambassador Ibrahim Yusuf,
It is with great pleasure that I attend today's forum to commemorate the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Indonesia, I would like to extend our warm congratulations to the opening of the forum and sincerely welcome the officials, ambassadors, experts and scholars who are present here. I would also express my heartfelt gratitude to ICWA for co-organizing this forum with us.
20 years ago, Mr. Qian Qichen, the State Counsellor and Foreign Minister of China was invited to attend the 24th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting which had initiated the process of China-ASEAN dialogue and cooperation. During the past 20 years, China-ASEAN relationship has been characterized by peace and development, as well as friendship and cooperation. China-ASEAN relationship has developed from comprehensive dialogue partners, to good-neighbourly and friendly partnership of mutual trust, and then to today's strategic partnership. The two sides have established a whole series of cooperative mechanisms at the levels of state leaders, ministers, senior officials and task forces. Pragmatic cooperation has been in full swing in more than 20 fields including trade, agriculture, finance, information, telecommunication, and infrastructure development. CAFTA, the free trade area covering the largest population and land area, has been in full implementation. Today, there are more than 760 regular flights between China and ASEAN nations every week, the people-to-people exchanges are over 800,000 person times each month and the two way trade is nearly 300 billion US dollars. These figures fully show the closeness of the bilateral exchanges and cooperation, and demonstrate the great potential of the further development of China-ASEAN ties.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations and has been designated as the Year of Friendly Exchanges by our leaders. As China-ASEAN strategic partnership is entering a new phase of development, we need to jointly push it forward. China firmly supports the centrality of ASEAN in East Asia cooperation. We will continue to render our support, help narrow the gaps between ASEAN nations and further deepen the practical cooperation in trade, investment, and connectivity so as to realize the mutually-beneficial cooperation, joint development and lasting friendship.
As a major country in ASEAN, Indonesia has played a unique role in promoting the China-ASEAN ties. When Indonesia was chair of ASEAN in 1996, China bacame a comprehensive dialogue partner of ASEAN, and in 2003, China joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and established strategic partnership with ASEAN. In 2011, Indonesia once again became the chair of ASEAN and the summit to commemorate China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations will be held in Bali this November. I hope and believe that China-ASEAN ties will make further progress this year and the bilateral good-neighbourly and friendly cooperation will turn a new chapter.
I am very pleased to see that many of you who have come today have witnessed and dedicated to the development of China-ASEAN ties. And many of you have an acute understanding of this growing relationship. I am fully convinced that today's forum will push forward the friendly exchanges, mutual understanding and mutually-beneficial cooperation between us, and will provide new impetus, wisdom as well as valuable ideas for the development of China-ASEAN relations.
I wish the forum a complete success.