Wang Yi's Remarks on the Biggest Highlight and Deliverable of the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting

On the afternoon of August 2, 2018, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a press briefing to Chinese and foreign media after the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting.

Wang Yi said that he just attended the Foreign Ministers' Meeting with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers. This year's meeting was more harmonious, smooth and friendly, and it showed that mutual trust and support between China and ASEAN countries have grown from strength to strength.

Wang Yi said that the biggest highlight of this year's meeting is that China and ASEAN countries have arrived at a single-draft COC negotiation text. That marked a new and major progress in the COC consultations. It is like China and ASEAN countries building a house together. In the past, there were like 11 designs from the 11 countries for how this house would look like. Now, we have laid a good groundwork for a single design for this house, and we have also put in place the fundamentals, like the supporting pillars, of this house. Going forward, we are going to enter into specific consultations of the detailed contents of the COC. We believe that without disturbances from the outside, the COC consultations will accelerate. The past progress has shown that China and ASEAN countries have the ability to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and have the wisdom to arrive at a set of regional rules of conduct that we will all observe.

The most important deliverable of this meeting is that we have made leapfrog progress in advancing China-ASEAN relations from quantity to quality. The China-ASEAN relationship has shifted from a growing period enjoying rapid development to a relationship of maturity being upgraded to higher levels. It also means that this relationship has entered a new stage of all-around progress. In this new stage, we will continue to be together sharing opportunities and meeting challenges so as to build a closer community with a shared future.

First, planning of cooperation between China and ASEAN countries will be elevated to a higher level. The two sides have reached consensus regarding Vision 2030 for China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership. After completing our respective domestic legal procedures, the document will be submitted to the leaders' summit for publication. This important document will lead the way for further growth of China-ASEAN relations to ensure that there will be continued and steady progress for China-ASEAN relations.

Second, cooperation on security affairs will be elevated to a higher level. This October, the two sides will hold the first China-Thailand maritime joint exercises. The fact is that right here in Singapore today, the sand-table exercise for the joint excises is being held to make preparation. Using this as a starting point, the two sides will further expand defense exchange and security affairs cooperation in a joint effort to meet security challenges and uphold regional stability.

Third, cooperation on innovation will be elevated to a higher level. This year is the China-ASEAN Year of Innovation, and the two sides have already conducted wide-ranging cooperation on this. Going forward, we are going to deepen our cooperation in new industries and new forms of business, including smart cities, digital economy, artificial intelligence and the Internet Plus to push forward our cooperation on this particular front.

Fourth, people-to-people exchanges will be elevated to a higher level. The two sides have agreed to designate the year 2019 as the Year of Media Exchange so that we will be able to further enhance communication and cooperation in education, tourism and youth affairs. It will help bring the hearts of our people ever closer.

Fifth, funding support for China-ASEAN relations will be elevated to a higher level. The Chinese side will scale up its financial contributions to the China-ASEAN cooperation fund. A special fund management team will be established under the ASEAN Secretariat so as to provide stronger support for China-AEAN practical cooperation.

Wang Yi noted that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership. The just concluded China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers'Meeting has fully reflected the high level of strategic cooperation between the two sides. China will work with all ASEAN countries to fully leverage existing mechanisms and continue to follow the principles covering mutual respect, equal consultation, openness and inclusiveness, and cooperation for win-win results, principles that we have all remained committed to for a long time. We will also work together to stay focused on East Asia and on cooperation, uphold multilateralism, and stick to dialogue and consensus so that together we will achieve greater progress in East Asian regional cooperation.

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