Twenty years ago, then Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen attended the 24th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the invitation of the ASEAN side, which marked the beginning of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. Over the past 20 years, with the care of leaders of the two sides and the support of people from all walks of life, China and ASEAN have embarked on a path of cooperation based on good neighborliness, friendship and mutual benefit.
The two sides have strengthened political mutual trust and elevated the status of their relationship from dialogue partnership to strategic partnership. The two sides have conducted fruitful economic cooperation and trade, completed the building of free trade area and registered rapid growth in trade and mutual investment. The two sides have established a full range of dialogue and cooperation mechanisms, identified 11 priority areas for cooperation, carried out practical cooperation in some 20 fields, and scored remarkable achievements in their friendly exchanges and cooperation in various fields. The two sides have also further strengthened their friendship and cooperation in the course of combating the Asian and international financial crises, severe natural disasters, cross-border communicable diseases and other challenges.
The comprehensive cooperation between China and ASEAN has not only given a strong boost to their economic and social development and brought tangible benefits to their peoples, but also made important contribution to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world at large.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations, we have published this brochure to review the history of our friendly exchanges, present the outcomes of our practical collaboration, and aspire for a brighter future of China-ASEAN strategic partnership.
I. Politics, Security and Regional Affairs
In July 1991, then Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen attended the 24th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which marked the beginning of the dialogue process. In 1996, China became a full dialogue partner of ASEAN.
In 1997, the two sides worked together to counter the Asian financial crisis. China's commitment to keeping its currency (RMB) stable was widely appreciated by ASEAN countries. In December of the same year, the first informal China-ASEAN Summit was held in Malaysia, during which the two sides agreed to establish a good-neighborly partnership of mutual trust for the 21st century. Then, at the seventh China-ASEAN Summit in October 2003, the two sides decided to enter into a strategic partnership. In the same year, the Chinese government announced its accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.
China attaches great importance to and stays committed to deepening good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation with ASEAN. China is the first ASEAN dialogue partner to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the first to establish strategic partnership with ASEAN, the first to unequivocally support the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone, and the first to confirm to establish free trade area with ASEAN.
China and ASEAN have maintained frequent high-level contacts, and Chinese leaders have attended all the previous China-ASEAN Summits. In 2010, some 70 mutual visits by officials at or above deputy-prime-minister level were made between the two sides. These high-level interactions have strengthened the mutual trust between China and ASEAN and laid a solid political foundation for the development of bilateral relations.
China and ASEAN have established a full range of dialogue and cooperation mechanisms involving state leaders, ministers and senior officials from both sides. To date, the two sides have held 13 summit meetings and three special summit meetings, and established more than ten ministerial meeting mechanisms in the fields of foreign policy, economy, transportation, customs administrators, attorney generals, youth affairs, health, telecommunication, press, quality inspection and combating transnational crimes.
In 2010, following the successful implementation of the first Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2005-2010), the two sides formulated the second Action Plan for the period 2011-2015.
In recent years, the two sides have made continued progress in defense exchanges and cooperation, and conducted a variety of exchange programs within the framework of China-ASEAN bilateral cooperation, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) and ASEAN Plus Three (10+3). China supported the security policy dialogue under the ARF, and hosted the workshop on disaster relief by armed forces, the non-traditional security forum and other events within the 10+3 framework. In 2011, China and ASEAN held the first defense ministers meeting.
The Chinese Academy of Military Sciences sponsored two "China-ASEAN Senior Defense Scholars' Dialogue" in 2008 and 2009 on the topics of "military modernization and regional mutual trust" and "security situation in East Asia and China-ASEAN defense cooperation." "China-ASEAN Defense and Security Dialogue," which was launched in 2010, provides an opportunity for in-depth discussions on regional defense and security issues between defense policy-makers and defense scholars from the two sides.
Since 1997, China and ASEAN have been holding biennial ministerial meetings on combating transnational crimes. The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Non-traditional Security Areas was signed in 2004 and renewed in 2010. The two sides have also carried out close cooperation in combating drug trafficking, illegal immigration, piracy, terrorism, arms smuggling, money laundering, international economic and cyber crimes and other transnational crimes.
Since 2004, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security has staged over 60 training courses and workshops on anti-narcotics law enforcement, criminological technique, maritime law enforcement, criminal case studies, exit-and-entry administration, cyber crime investigation and other subjects, and invited over 1,500 law enforcement officers from ASEAN member countries to China. In particular, from 2006 to 2011, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security organized five training programs for ASEAN law enforcement liaison officers, during which 92 officers from ASEAN countries studied Chinese language and police knowledge in China.
China and ASEAN have extended mutual support, and partnered with each other in confronting a series of severe natural disasters and epidemics such as Indian Ocean tsunami, Myanmar cyclone, Wenchuan earthquake, SARS and avian flu.
* Regional Affairs
China and ASEAN have worked closely with each other in advancing East Asia cooperation, and jointly shaped an open and inclusive approach to regional cooperation based on mutual benefit and consensus. The two sides have maintained good cooperation in ARF, 10+3, East Asia Summit (EAS) and other mechanisms, pushed for the publication of the two Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation, facilitated the development of a regional foreign exchange reserve pool, and contributed to the building of free trade area in East Asia. China firmly supports ASEAN in playing a leading role in the East Asia cooperation process.
China has consistently supported and actively participated in ASEAN's community building and integration process. As one of the first countries to appoint an ambassador to ASEAN, China opened the ASEAN Affairs Office in Jakarta in 2011, and is making preparations for the establishment of a permanent mission to ASEAN.
In November 2002, China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which displayed the shared resolve of the two sides to strengthen China-ASEAN partnership of good-neighborliness and mutual trust and uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea. In July 2011, China and ASEAN countries agreed on the Guidelines for the implementation of the DOC.
II. Economy and Trade, CAFTA and CAEXPO
* Economy and Trade
China-ASEAN trade has maintained a rapid growth momentum. The volume of bilateral trade jumped from US$7.96 billion in 1991 to US$292.78 billion in 2010, representing a 37-fold increase and an average annual growth of more than 20 percent. In the first half of 2011, China-ASEAN trade totaled US$171.12 billion, up by 25 percent year-on-year. China is now already the largest trading partner of ASEAN, while ASEAN the third largest trading partner of China.
Two-way investment keeps expanding. As of June 2011, the accumulated amount of mutual investment reached almost US$80 billion. In recent years, China has stepped up its investment in ASEAN countries, and ASEAN is becoming an important destination for overseas investment of Chinese companies. The launch of China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund and China-ASEAN Banking Consortium upon the Chinese proposal has provided an important platform for investment and financing cooperation between the two sides.
Economic cooperation and trade between China and ASEAN countries continue to deepen, expanding from trade in goods at the very beginning to trade in services and mutual investment, and to telecommunication, Mekong River development, transportation, energy, culture, tourism and other fields. ASEAN is now already China's fifth largest export market and source of import for trade in services.
* China-ASEAN Free Trade Area
China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) is the most important measure and achievement in China-ASEAN economic cooperation and trade. It is the first free trade area negotiated by China with foreign countries and the largest free trade area among developing countries.
In November 2000, then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji proposed the idea of CAFTA, which was positively responded by the leaders of the ASEAN countries. In November 2002, China and ASEAN signed the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between China and ASEAN, in which they agreed to launch the building of CAFTA and complete the process by 2010.
III. Science and Technology, Environmental Protection and Intellectual Property Rights
* Science and Technology
In 1994, China-ASEAN Joint Science and Technology Committee was established. The committee, which is represented by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology, has held six meetings so far. Under the guidance of the joint committee, the two sides have conducted a number of cooperation programs in agriculture, biology, food, energy, traditional Chinese medicine, remote sensing, earthquake, marine science and other fields, including: international science and technology cooperation forum on new and renewable energy development and utilization (2009), training course on solar system technology and product application (2009), training course on hybrid rice technology (2009), international science and technology cooperation forum on solar energy development and utilization (2010), workshop on technology exchange, demonstration and dissemination for applying traditional Chinese medicine to diabetes prevention and treatment (2010), international science and technology cooperation forum on new agricultural varieties and plantation (2010).
Since 2005, exhibition of science and technology has been arranged on the sidelines of CAEXPO each year. Proceeding from the actual needs of ASEAN countries and building on China' s achievements in the R&D of agriculture-related high and new technologies, the exhibition has displayed close to 3,000 advanced applicable agricultural technologies, high and new technologies and products, and recorded more than RMB4 billion in total volume of technology trade.
In 2006, with the support of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, China-ASEAN Agriculture Cooperation Demonstration Zone was built in Guangxi Baise National Agricultural Science and Technology Park, which is now serving as an outpost in China-ASEAN cooperation on agricultural science and technology. Since 2006, Baise National Agricultural Science and Technology Park has been sponsoring ASEAN-oriented training courses on subtropical fruit trees, China-ASEAN forum on modern agricultural development and other science and technology exchange programs every year, and trained a group of agricultural technicians and administrators for ASEAN countries.
In 2008, the website on China-ASEAN science and technology cooperation and achievement commercialization was launched and put into operation. In response to the needs of Chinese and ASEAN subscribers, the website contains 14 special sections on ASEAN news, exhibition information and R&D outcomes, and 8 special databases on laws and regulations, enterprises and products, and ASEAN standards. Up to date, the website has collected and released more than 20,000 pieces of information and accepted 40,000 registered subscribers.
Currently, the main China-ASEAN cooperation mechanisms for environmental protection include China-ASEAN Environment Cooperation, 10+3 Environment Ministers Meeting and East Asia Summit Environment Ministers Meeting.
At the 11th China-ASEAN Summit in 2007, environmental protection was listed as the 11th priority area for cooperation under the mechanism of China-ASEAN Summit. In 2009, the two sides jointly drafted the China-ASEAN Environmental Protection Cooperation Strategy (2009-2015). In May 2011, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection formally launched the China-ASEAN Center of Environmental Protection Cooperation.
The two sides have conducted a series of exchange programs, including China-ASEAN Environment Policy Dialogue, China-ASEAN Workshop on Environment Management, China-ASEAN Workshop on Environmental Labeling and Cleaner Production, China-ASEAN Workshop on Environment Impact Evaluation and Strategic Environment Impact Evaluation, International Seminar on China-ASEAN Environmental Protection Cooperation Strategy, Workshop for Senior GMS Officials on Environment Management and Ecological Protection Administration, China-ASEAN Workshop on Green Industries Development and Cooperation, and China-ASEAN Seminar on Law Enforcement Competence.
*Intellectual Property Rights
China and ASEAN have conducted extensive and in-depth exchanges and cooperation in intellectual property rights. Since 2005, the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office has organized a number of China-ASEAN seminars on intellectual property rights. In 2009, the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding on China-ASEAN Cooperation in Intellectual Property Rights, which has greatly advanced China-ASEAN cooperation in intellectual property rights.
IV. Agriculture, Poverty Reduction and Alleviation
China and most of the countries in ASEAN have a vast rural population and rich agricultural resources, and agriculture occupies a primary position in their national economy. Therefore, to strengthen cooperation in agriculture is a common strategic decision for both sides.
In 2002, China and ASEAN signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation, which identified hybrid rice plantation, aquaculture, biotechnology, farm produce and machinery as the key areas for long-term cooperation between China and ASEAN in agricultural science and technology. In addition, China has also signed bilateral agricultural cooperation agreement or memorandum of understanding with most countries in ASEAN, improved the formulation of agricultural cooperation policies, and strengthened the exchanges of agricultural technologies.
China and ASEAN countries have carried out a series of human resources development and technological exchange programs in the field of agriculture. China has sponsored dozens of technology training courses and trained a group of agricultural scientists and technicians for ASEAN countries.
China and ASEAN have made continued progress in their cooperation on crop varieties and cultivation technologies. China has also stepped up cooperation with ASEAN countries in sanitary and phytosanitary measures, advantageous new varieties, new technology development, rural biogas development, professional training for rural project management and trade in agricultural products.
Agricultural technology demonstration zone is an important means for promoting agriculture-related economic cooperation and trade. With low price, high quality, easy accessibility and practical application, agricultural technologies and equipments made in China are immensely popular in ASEAN countries.
In recent years, China has proposed and implemented "China-ASEAN Plan on Improving Comprehensive Food Productivity" , "China-ASEAN Plan on Advancing Rural Development" and other programs to ensure comprehensive, sustained and in-depth agricultural cooperation between China and ASEAN.
* Poverty Reduction and Alleviation
From 2007 to 2010, through close cooperation with ASEAN countries and other related international organizations, the International Poverty Reduction Center in China sponsored four rounds of China-ASEAN forum on social development and poverty reduction.
Making use of multiple fund-raising channels, China has sponsored 12 training programs on poverty alleviation policies and practices for ASEAN, and trained more than 200 representatives from ASEAN and other Asian countries in total.
China has conducted mutual exchanges and visits with ASEAN government agencies, parliamentary delegations and other stakeholders, and sent delegates to the 10+3 Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Reduction. These interactions have significantly expanded China' s contacts and dialogues with ASEAN countries in social development and poverty reduction, and laid a strong foundation for enhancing practical cooperation.
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