ASEAN-China Special Summit Held via Video Conference

ASEAN-China Summit (Photo: EPA-EFE)
ASEAN-China Summit (Photo: EPA-EFE)

A special summit held between ASEAN nations and China was held via video conference yesterday, with the Lao delegation led by President Thongloun Sisoulith.

The ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations saw top leaders of China and ASEAN states mark 30 years of dialogue relations. China pledged further aid in terms of funding and Covid-19 vaccines for the Southeast Asian bloc, as well as supporting its pandemic response.

The event was co-hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam, current ASEAN chair for 2021.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the summit, saying that China was, is, and always will be ASEAN’s good neighbor, friend, and good partner, according to a readout released by state news agency Xinhua.

He said that China would support ASEAN unity and centrality, as well as helping the group to play a larger role in international affairs.

“China will never seek hegemony, much less bully smaller countries,” Mr. Xi noted.

He also said that peace must be maintained in the region, while countries should pursue dialogue instead of confrontation, alluding to internal issues faced by ASEAN in dealing with Myanmar, which was notably absent from the summit.

China says it will cooperate with ASEAN states in boosting vaccine production, collaborate on the research and development of medicines, and help nations under the bloc build capacity in response to public health emergencies.

Meanwhile, leaders at the summit discussed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which was signed in November last year and will come into force in January 2022.

The RCEP includes the ten member countries of the ASEAN as well as their five largest trading partners China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.