Former Deputy Prime Minister of Laos, Somsavat Lengsavad led a delegation from Laos to attend the China-ASEAN High Level Think Tank Forum on Saturday.
The forum was held under the theme of working in solidarity and focusing on promoting the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership and was attended by more than 200 politicians and experts from China and ASEAN countries.
During the opening ceremony, Mr. Somsavat, who attended via video conference, spoke about the good partnership and mutual trust between ASEAN and China over the past 30 years, taking into account the interests of both sides, according to CRI.
The occasion marked the 30th anniversary of dialogue relations and between ASEAN and China, with the new opportunity of the upcoming Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) high on the agenda.
The meeting sought to strengthen ASEAN-China relations and contribute to the implementation of strategic cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, and socio-economic development to bring benefits to the people of both ASEAN and China.
Trade between China and ASEAN has increased 85-fold in the last three decades, and for the 12th year in a row, China was ASEAN’s largest trading partner, while ASEAN became China’s largest trading partner in 2020.
“ASEAN had for the first time surpassed the EU as the largest trading partner of China amid COVID-19-induced economic fall-out last year. Indeed, the pandemic has enhanced the China-ASEAN solidarity and economic inter-dependability enormously,” said Malaysia’s Ong Tee Keat, chairman of the Centre for New Inclusive Asia.
“The China-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is all set to be a new booster, capable of propelling the long intertwined interests of both sides to a higher plane,” he added.
Former president of the Thai Parliament, Mr. Bhokin Bhalakula, spoke of the need for close cooperation to overcome natural disasters and other obstacles.
“Cooperation will strengthen our power to overcome humanity’s common enemies including natural disasters, pandemics, and any other obstacles. It will also lead to our success in win-win scenarios to achieve common prosperity together,” Bhokin Bhalakula noted.