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30 years on, China, ASEAN ries beef up regional cooperation

2021-07-21 09:16:43

The year 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue between China and the ASEAN.

The year 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Sustained win-win cooperation has been achieved to benefit over 2 billion people in 11 countries.

Thirty years on, the strong ties have served as an important pillar for regional peace and prosperity.

Official statistics show that the bilateral trade volume between China and ASEAN was only 7.96 billion U.S. dollars in 1991, while in 2020, the number rose to 684.6 billion U.S. dollars amidst the global pandemic as the two sides became each other's largest trading partner.

South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has been thrust into the frontier of the country's opening-up to ASEAN, driven by the Beibu Gulf economic zone that serves as west China's nearest sea route to ASEAN countries. The economic zone was included in a national development strategy by the central Chinese government in 2008.

Two major mechanisms including the China-ASEAN Expo and the Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum were initiated in 2004 and 2006 respectively, to push for the opening of Guangxi, especially to ASEAN.

Benefiting from the two platforms, Guangxi has forged friendly ties with over 50 ASEAN cities, bolstering its trade and economic cooperation with those regions and promoting people-to-people exchanges.

Guangxi has also been promoting the construction of supply chain service platforms for bulk commodities, reinforcing its role as a major importing base of ASEAN commodities in southwest China, and encouraging new forms of foreign trade such as cross-border e-commerce, said Yang Chunting, Party secretary of the regional department of commerce.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and ASEAN have deepened their cooperation in fighting the pandemic, boosting economic and cultural exchanges, and enhancing foreign trade.

In the first half of 2021, trade volume between China and ASEAN reached 2.66 trillion yuan (411.3 billion U.S. dollars), up 27.8 percent year on year.