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China, ASEAN form comprehensive strategic partnership as Xi chairs summit

2021-11-23 15:52:08 Xinhua News Agency

China and ASEAN agreed to elevate their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership at the special summit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their dialogue relations.

"China was, is, and will always be ASEAN's good neighbor, good friend and good partner," Xi said.

He reaffirmed that China will unswervingly treat ASEAN as a high priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, unswervingly support ASEAN unity and ASEAN Community building, unswervingly support ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, and unswervingly support ASEAN in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs.

JOINTLY TACKLING CHALLENGES

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the world, Xi announced that China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to jointly build a "health shield" for the region.

Under this initiative, China is ready to donate an additional 150 million doses of COVID vaccines to ASEAN countries to support higher vaccination rates in countries in the region.

China will also contribute an additional 5 million U.S. dollars to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, step up joint vaccine production and technology transfer, and collaborate on the research and development of essential medicines, so as to help ASEAN increase self-reliance.

China will also support ASEAN in strengthening primary-level public health systems and cultivating human capital for ASEAN to build a stronger capacity in response to major public health emergencies.

"China has played various crucial roles in mitigating the pandemic domestically and regionally through vaccine and medical supplies to ASEAN countries, which helps facilitate the process of reopening borders, resume other economic activities and strengthen the resilience of supply chains," said Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute.

At the summit, Xi announced that China is ready to provide ASEAN with another 1.5 billion U.S. dollars of development assistance in the next three years to support ASEAN countries' fight against COVID-19 and boost economic recovery.

Xi said China is ready to open a dialogue with ASEAN on climate response, increase policy communication and experience sharing, and synergize plans for sustainable development.