ASEAN and Chinese Foreign Ministers Meet to Discuss Myanmar and Other Regional Issues

Lao foreign minister Saleumxay Kommasith attends ASEAN-China meeting
Lao foreign minister Saleumxay Kommasith attends ASEAN-China meeting (Photo: MOFA)

Foreign ministers from ASEAN nations met with the Chinese foreign ministry in Chongqing on Monday to discuss regional issues at the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

The crisis in Myanmar was at the top of the agenda for the first in-person meeting by the group since the pandemic began.

Foreign ministers from Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia expressed disappointment that Myanmar had not kept to the “five-point consensus” agreed by ASEAN leaders at a special summit held in April with junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, The Straits Times reports.

Myanmar’s foreign minister under the military leadership, Wunna Maung Lwin, was present at the meeting on Monday.

Meanwhile, other issues up for discussion under the theme of the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations included the reopening of borders following a surge of Covid-19 infections, as well as tensions in the South China Sea.

Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith led the Lao delegation attending the meeting, which was co-chaired by China’s State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Teodoro Locsin.

During the meeting, ASEAN foreign ministers agreed to strengthen joint efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the region by sharing information and best practices as well as research and development of vaccines and their distribution, Vientiane Times reports.

The ten-nation bloc also indicated it would develop an ASEAN Covid Recovery Plan, as well as encouraging businesses to trade online.

Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the meeting, with the two marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Laos and China.

Wang Yi said that China appreciates Laos supporting the elevation of China-ASEAN relations and the building of a China-ASEAN partnership on blue economy. China speaks highly of the important and positive role made by Laos in lifting Lancang-Mekong cooperation to a new level when co-chairing the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation.

Saleumxay Kommasith, in turn, extended warm congratulations to China on the 100th anniversary of the CPC’s founding. He said that under the CPC’s strong leadership, China has achieved extraordinary development progress, blazed a trail that fits its national conditions, and set an example for developing countries.